A lot of people believe that a cocktail is just a mixture of different spirits. That it’s just a fancy way of drinking a spirit and nothing more. A simple addition of different spirits coated in a fancy-looking glass with a flamboyant color. But no: a cocktail is a chemical reaction, one that goes beyond just the simple addition, that involves laborious efforts, extractions, reductions, and continuous testing and improvement. The results of this chemical reaction are intriguing to the eye, not just flamboyant, and during the course of the night extend an influence to human interactions. That was the case for me this week as I was trying cocktails at Mominette‘s. Among many delicious contenders, the Azuro was the one that intrigued me the most.
Dimitri enjoys the Azuro.
The chemist, at work.
The first ingredient is gin infused with creme de violette, a very interesting liqueur with violet color and taste. The raw harshness of gin is sprinkled with violets making it inviting in its dangerousness. But now comes the fun part. The recipe demands a rosemary and coriander seed syrup and lavender bitters, making it taste like the Mediterranean in the Cote d’Azur. Both the syrup and the bitters are homemade. The appearance of it reflects the taste, producing a nice vibrant turquoise color, and making it taste like the happiness one feels while enjoying the coast of the French Riviera. It’s name is a direct reference to the PACA area of France, that being Provence, Alps and Cote D’ Azur.
The final product, in all its glory.
On Tuesday, I first tasted the Azuro, after having tasted an array of Mominette’s of other cocktails. They were all wonderful, but Azuro’s taste and presentation most definitely made a connection with me. “I wanted a drink that reminds me of the south of France scents. So I thought of the odors you would encounter walking around Provence countryside,” says creator of the cocktail, Nico Thoni. Lavender was the first to come to mind and then rosemary, and after that, it was an act of creating a balanced drink, with gin being the obvious spirit, said Nico, via email.
“Alcohol is a chemical,” said Fred, who was tending the bar that night, giving me the idea of cocktails as a chemical reaction. Beyond the additions, mixtures, reductions, and extractions, cocktails can be part of another kind of chemistry. One that brings back memories and that transforms a concoction to a connection.
Bushwick Mixer is a weekly column somewhere at the crossroads of pop culture and mixology in the bars of Bushwick. Hashtag your photos of Bushwick cocktails with #BushwickMixer and let us know why they should be tasted by the author of the column.
The Azuro is served at the Mominette, 221 Knickerbocker Ave for $10.