Tom Macy of Clover Club made this tasty cocktail inspired by clever girl Emily Dickinson, and her poem, Nature Rarer Uses Yellow. He started by muddling blackberries and raspberries with a lemon wedge, then added vanilla syrup, Old Tom gin, and Jerry Thomas Decanter Bitters, along with sparkling wine.
Hell Bent for Leather
Our own Michael Neff's cocktail was inspired by a Jack Keruoac poem, Untitled. ("Some trust the wolf/ they have raised since birth/ not to turn on them.") The drink featured green cardamom pods pressed with citrus peel and sugar ("like an oleo-saccharum for a punch made on the fly," said Neff), stirred with Maker's 46 and Jameson. Intense and smoky, with more than a hint of smooth leather.
Flaming the twist
Michael Neff of Ward III added a little more smoke (and orange oil) to his cocktail by flaming the orange twist.
Chef Peter Hoffman served up this grilled bread topped with beets and a stinging nettle pesto.
Amanda Long of Back Forty created this floral martini variation inspired by E. E. Cummings's Somewhere I Have Never Traveled. "I wanted something feminine and delicate; the poem is so feminine and sensual, and I wanted the drink to convey that," she told us. The drink used Tanqueray gin, white vermouth, Lucid absinthe, and rosewater for a floral but refreshing final product.
Pork Jowl Nuggets
A crisp and rich Back Forty classic, served with jalapeno jam and cilantro.
William Potter of the New York Distilling Company mixed up a beautifully bitter cocktail using his Dorothy Parker Gin, along with Bittermans Amer Sauvage, fresh grapefruit, and Carpano Antica vermouth. The poem he chose, Ballade of a Talked-Off Ear, "shows off a little of Parker's sass," he said, and the drink was a little bitter and sassy, too.
Performing a Little Poetry
Bob Holman read the poems that inspired each cocktail.
Ward of the Bar
Nathan Connor of Back Forty West made this rye, mint, orange, and lemon-basd drink after Tennyson's Crossing the Bar. "The poem made me sad, but also a little hopeful," he said, "I like the idea of rye bringing a bit of a bite, and the mellowness of fresh orange juice—the harshness of alcohol balanced by the sweetness of fruit—it felt a bit like what life's like."
Mini Ham & Egg Muffin
Think of it as a haute Egg McMuffin: A quail egg balanced on top of house-cured ham and Landaff cheese, piled onto a miniature housemade English muffin.
Whipped Goat Feta and Urfa Spread
Back Forty's own crackers were topped with a spread made with whipped goat feta and urfa, a Turkish pepper.
A Drink Which Can Make You An Asshole
Tom Richter of The Beagle (and TomR's Tonic) made this drink inspired by a poem by Cristopher Michel, using Green Chartreuse, maraschino liqueur, Rittenhouse rye, and both Angostura and orange bitters. "It goes down easy but it will sneak up on you," said Richter as a sort of warning (or encouragement.)
These juicy grassfed mini-burgers were dressed in Back Forty's own pickles and ketchup.
A Nice Place to Pour Drinks
Tom Macy pouring his cocktail on the back patio of Back Forty.
Michael Reynolds and Bitters, Old Men served up a variation on the Dark and Stormy, made with Pyrat rum, Velvet Falernum, ginger beer, and their "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes" bitters.