America's coolest new cocktails
Barman Evan Zimmerman prepares to work his magic on the Furious George
What do 60,000 bees, a hollow egg of ice, a vacuum sealer and a tray of banana consommé have in common? They all currently contribute to a night out for cocktail lovers across America. Think being a bartender isn’t a real job? These men and women are giving it their all, pushing the envelope when it comes to your next libation.
The Furious George
The Woodsman, Portland, OR
If you are blessed enough to sit down in front of barman Evan Zimmerman and request a Furious George, let him know you appreciate the effort he put in before your arrival. This cocktail is born days before you drink it, when Zimmerman begins a process called “freeze filtering.” He takes six bananas and three cups of water, adds citric acid, and shoves it all through a chinois. He then adds gelatin to the leftover liter of liquid, heats it, and then freezes it in a pan overnight. Still with us? OK. The frozen slab is then wrapped in cheesecloth and set on a rack above a collection pan inside of a walk-in. The liquid drips slowly through the cloth, collecting in the pan. According to Zimmerman, he ends up with “a hunk of gelatin banana goo on top and clear banana consommé below.”
That consommé is stirred into Willet 5 Year Rye whiskey with four drops of pungent clove oil and served in a chilled coup.
The Almost Home
The Columbia Room, Washington D.C.
At the Columbia Room, head bartender and bar beekeeper Katie Nelson puts her neck (as well as her forearms, calves and hands) on the line, all in the name of a great cocktail. Nelson heads upstairs daily to speak soothingly with her 60,000 bees that buzz around the bar’s rooftop apiary. A few times a year, she extracts the comb and scrapes the honey into a bucket. Back downstairs in the bar, it’s run through a fine mesh strainer to separate the wax. For the Almost Home libation, she uses the honey and freshly picked lavender blossoms to create a floral, sweet syrup and then adds two ounces of La Gitana Manzanilla Sherry, a small dose of Yamazaki 12-year Japanese whiskey, and garnishes the results with the aromatic oils from a peel of fresh grapefruit.