It doesn’t happen very often, but when a spontaneous and creative collaboration between the bar staff and a guest happens, amazing things can happen. In this instance, a table of customers had finished their evening meal and gave us the challenge of creating a drink with two left over garlic heads. In such occurrences, there is instinctively an initial urge to pull something special out of the hat, both to exceed the guests’ expectations well as to prove to yourself that you’re worth the salt.
As bizarre as this particular request appeared, it provided an opportunity for quick footed, outside the box thinking. A fundamental element of mixing drinks is balance through structure. As with most cocktails, there was the elementary need to juggle a base spirit with a source of sweetness, acidity and bitterness. Considering the ingredients we were using to tick these boxes, it seemed logical to opt for herbs and spices for additional flavours, with the intention of creating a savoury cocktail which was both surprising and unique. It often takes hours of thinking, testing and tasting to create a drink we deem good enough for our signature menu. This one however, came together in less than ten minutes. The Altopiani Arrosto will feature on Ril’s signature cocktail menu from January through March.
Bittermens Hellfire bitters
Roasted garlic heads
In a mixing glass or cocktail tin, crush two roasted garlic heads and one stem of thyme with a muddler. Add 45ml of Drambuie, 15ml Martini Rosso and 2.5ml of balsamic vinegar along with one dash of Hellfire bitters (If not available add a couple drops of Habanero pepper sauce).
Add plenty of cubed ice and stir for about fifteen seconds until slightly diluted. Pour the mixture through a fine sieve into a tumbler over fresh ice cubes.