When you’ve met as many bartenders as I have (on purely journalistic endeavors, mind you, or at least that’s the story I’m going with), you start to notice where they hang out after their shifts. One prime locale for the late-night industry crowd is Nightingale, the sleek and cozy Lyndale Avenue hangout where you might hear vinyl spinning over the rabble of a handsome crowd noshing on oysters and chicken liver paté.
“We’re very much ourselves,” says Olivia Engel, bartender at Nightingale. “We don’t wear uniforms and we have a veteran staff. It’s really tight knit, like a family, and I think that people in the industry respond to that mentality.”
They probably also respond to the tremendous cocktail list. We do too, and are soaking up the last of the warm weather with a sunshiny gin cocktail. “This drink is very well-balanced; the J. Carver is an amazing gin,” Engel says. “A cocktail like this has a lot going on, and a barrel gin stands up to it all.”
The drink pours a brilliant yellow gold and smells like a garden full of lemony herbs. The flavor is in Bee’s Knees territory but with the added depth of tannin from the barrel gin and a dry, herbal finish from the mouth-coating absinthe.
You can get powdered bee pollen at your local co-op, which you’d then mix into a regular simple syrup for a bright and floral zing. But if you don’t want to go through the trouble, you could always 86 the pollen and make it up with a little more honey syrup (plus a little more lemon juice for balance).
God Save The Queen
1¾ ounces J. Carver Barrel Gin
½ ounce Cocchi Americano
½ ounce honey simple syrup
¼ ounce lemon juice
¼ ounce bee pollen syrup
Absinthe (St. George recommended)
Pour the first five ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well and strain into a coupe glass. Put absinthe in a small spritz bottle and mist the cocktail with a few quick sprays. (Alternatively, wash the glass with a few drops of absinthe before pouring the cocktail.)
Find more recipes for delicious cocktails in our Craft Cocktails archive.