It’s a dreary spring in the East, but seasonal menus are bursting forth. In Boston, that means lots of drinks made with gin and modified with Aperol or St-Germain as well as an array of botanicals, herbs, bitters and fresh and infused produce, such as rhubarb, fennel and lavender. At the Island Creek Oyster Bar, rhubarb buds are infused with vermouth and mixed with gin and St-Germain for the 1822. Gin also makes its way into the Printemps with Cocchi Americano, St-Germain and Aperol. Fennel shows up in the Perennial, mixed with vodka and lemon.
The spring drink menu at Boston's Island Creek Oyster Bar features the Snug Harbor Smash, crafted with a four-rum blend, crushed lime and demerara sugar and served over ice with a mint sprig.
Next door at Eastern Standard Kitchen & Drinks, Jackson Cannon offers a new menu that includes tall drinks, heritages, sparklers, infusions, standards and “Tikisms” (Don’s Zombie circa 1934, made with five rums, lime, cinnamon, falernum and absinthe; the Flying Dutchman made with house-infused arrack, allspice and citrus; and Vic’s 1940s Scorpion Bowl with Banks Rum, Macchu Pisco, citrus and orgeat). Additionally, Cannon is showing three “oeuf” drinks made with eggs this spring, including the New Jersey Flip (applejack, tawny port, Galliano, egg and orange bitters).
Eastern Standard's Pisco Sour features Pisco, lemon juice, egg white and bitters.
At 28 Degrees, the spring section includes a Lavender Martini made with Hendrick’s Gin and a Cucumber Martini with cuke puree, Square One Cucumber Vodka and a salt rim. A yet unnamed cocktail is made with cherry vodka, Aperol, St-Germain, lemon and Prosecco.
Lavender also makes its way into bar manager Alex Homans’ Lavender Leshii (vodka, lavender and sparkling wine) at Temple Bar. The bar's menu also includes an egg cocktail — Gabe’s Sour is made with rye, lemon, egg white and shiraz — and Aperol, featured in the El Santo with agave and citrus.
From Kingston Station bar manager Eric Pierce, we’ve got the Chicha (pineapple, Brugal Anejo rum, vanilla and crystallized ginger) and the Chupacabra (tequlia, Xocolatl Mole Bitters, grapefruit, lime and soda.)
At Russell House Tavern, where Aaron Butler is bar manager, the Kobayashi Maru (Yamazaki 12 Year, green-tea simple syrup, apricot liqueur, lemon, orange bitters and orange flower water) and the Alkali Ridge Sunset (High West Bourye, Rhum Clement Creole Shrubb, Meletti Amaro and grapefruit bitters) highlight the menu, among others.
Not new but recent and worth mentioning is the cocktail menu at the Citizen Public House & Oyster Bar, which opened last fall. Recent response to a confusing piece written about the place’s Chartreuse Swizzle (adapted from a recipe created by Marcovaldo Dionysos) brought some unwanted attention to Joy Richard’s menu, but all publicity is good publicity, we think. Richard’s program includes Fernet Branca on draft, as well as some intriguing drinks, including the Beach Cruiser (Zaya 12 Year Rum, Fernet Branca, cream of coconut, fresh lime juice, orange juice and tiki bitters) and the Four-Fifteen (Bols Genever, Cocchi Americano, Aperol, Gran Classico and grapefruit bitters). There’s that Aperol again — obviously a new indicator of spring drink-making.