“I want people to look at the list, know what they’re ordering, and just get a really solid drink,” says Trish Gavin. “Proper dilution, proper garnish, correct glassware, right ice: the fundamentals of a cocktail.”
Gavin is heading up the drink list at Handsome Hog, the new Southern-inspired eatery on Mears Park in Lowertown St. Paul. Her cocktails are heavy on the whiskey, but complemented by the flavors coming from the kitchen.
“Everything [chef] Justin [Sutherland] brings in is on the daily and super seasonal,” Gavin says. “On the patio menu, I have a couple large-format drinks; one is a pickled strawberry Pimm’s cup. We do pickled strawberries on our cobb salad and I asked them to save the pickling liquid from that. I try to dovetail the flavors he’s working with into the drinks. Everything is going to complement each other and make for a well-rounded experience.”
For this month’s craft cocktail, Gavin works in smoke and fire in the form of a charred peach garnish. Since whiskey and peaches are a match made in Southern heaven, the rest of the drink, loosely based on the Brainstorm cocktail, uses the delicate Dolin Blanc vermouth and a gorgeous peach liqueur to balance 100-proof rye.
“I’m a big fan of J.J. Hill’s house,” says Gavin. “When I think of those big houses on Summit Avenue, I just want to sit on the porches and have a cocktail. I feel like this would be a great fancy mansion porch cocktail.”
The Wisdom of J.J. Hill
- 2 ounces Rittenhouse Rye
- ¾ ounce Dolin Blanc vermouth
- A fat ½ ounce Mathilde Pêche
- 1 full eyedropper Bittercube Orange Bitters
Add all ingredients to a mixing glass with ice. Give them a good long stir to dilute the overproof rye.
Photos by Kevin Kramer
Strain into a coupe glass. Express the oils of an orange peel over the drink. Garnish with a smoky charred peach (see below for instructions).Garnish
Thinly slice peaches, coat them in smoked sugar, and leave them for a few hours to dehydrate before charring them on a hot grill.
Inside Handsome Hog