Virtual Happy Hour: White Whiskey and White Rum Cocktails at Ink.
When we bellied up to the bar at Ink earlier this week, we were just after a quick drink and a laugh with some girlfriends. We weren't at all in food writer mode -- as evidenced by the borrowed photos -- and certainly weren't on a recon mission for this column. (Michael Voltaggio's restaurant has, after all, been featured here recently, and we hate to double up considering how many good drinks there are in this town.) But we were pleasantly surprised by not one, but two of the new cocktails on the list that night, both of which use white spirits as their base. Normally it's all about brown sprits and riffs on old fashioneds for us, but these two rocked our little world.The first of said world-rockers was simply named white whiskey. (The cocktails at Ink are listed by their base spirit.) Head bartender Gabby Mlynarczyk mixes up white dog, popcorn, corn milk, lemon, and licorice bitters to make a Corn Pops-tasting, cocktail version of David Chang's cereal milk ice cream.
Now, admittedly, we were a bit nervous about the licorice bitters bit. (Black licorice is one of the few flavors we just don't dig.) But Mlynarczyk brought back a vial of Bob's Bitters from her recent trip to London, and it really lends a subtle note to the cocktail. Rather than pelting you like a package of Good N Plenty, it just adds a nice spiced finish. We are obsessed.
Now, we could have called it quits right there. But our good friend EstarLA ordered up round two, a drink simply called "white rum."
Photo courtesy of www.estarla.com
Mlynarczyk was inspired to make this cocktail while baking a batch of banana bread. She makes the rum base by taking the solids from slowly browned butter mixed with fresh banana and then blends it with rum. It's then aged it for a couple of days, strained, and then mixed with lime and curacao.
It's one of those head-scratchers. The drink is built like a daiquiri, but the brown butter bit turns the whole thing on its head in the best of ways, transforming it into a boozy version of banana's foster. We can't wait to go back for more.