The eponymous cocktail is a tart, savory punch made with a 5-year El Dorado rum, Plymouth gin, honey syrup, pine essence, yuzu, and lime. "It's meant to be forest-y," says Harris, "[it's] inspired by a Japanese myth about the origin of fireflies, which takes place in a pine forest." The yuzu juice and pine essence give it a complex, herbaceous flavor that evokes the feeling of walking through the woods. On special occasions, Harris will even drop a small luminescent globe in the mason jar to give the impression of catching fireflies in a jar.
Harris told us that the Malum Malum is in part inspired by Hidetsugu Ueno's Japanese Garden cocktail at the world famous Bar High Five in the Ginza neighborhood of Tokyo. "[Ueno-san] made a drink with Yamazaki (a Japanese scotch-style whiskey), Midori, and green tea liqueur. I thought the mix of Midori and Scotch was genius," said Harris. "You never see something like Midori on craft cocktail menus. It's generally considered low-brow in the spirit world. The idea I took from it is that no ingredient is off-limits and anything can be made into a proper classically styled drink with study and ingenuity." The Malum Malum is made with Tio Pepe fino sherry, Dewar's Scotch, Midori, and lime.
(On recent visit to Tokyo, I tasted the Japanese Garden myself. You can see my take on it here.)
"I'm from Chicago, so I like the name. I also like how it studies form and function in drinks. The drink itself is super dry, but the sugar on the rim helps balance it out." Made with Cognac G. Brisson, Cointreau, and Angostura bitters, Harris recommends it as an after-dinner sipper.
Part of the appeal of the Champagne Cocktail is watching Harris put it together. Made with Heidsieck Monopole Champagne, an Angostura doused sugar cube, and an orange peel, it's essentially an Old Fashioned with Champagne instead of whisky. Harris uses a bar spoon to draw the wine straight to the bottom of the flute. Harris explains: "this drink is an elegant demonstration of the alchemy that can happen with a few simple ingredients. Pouring down the spoon is mostly aesthetic and not entirely necessary, but, it depends on how you choose to make the drink. If you pour the Champagne and put the sugar cube in after pouring, it's unnecessary. If you put the cube in before pouring the Champagne, then pouring down the spoon helps contain the CO2 so the Champagne doesn't go flat. When Champagne hits sugar, it causes the CO2 to go crazy, over bubble and escape, making it flat."
When I asked when he thought was the best time for a Champagne Cocktail, Harris responded: "Instead of water."
The Absinthe Suissesse is a classic New Orleans recipe involving absinthe, anise, orange flower water, and an egg white. Harris relished the opportunity to demonstrate his egg cracking ability and remarks that it's great with breakfast or brunch. It's not on the menu officially, but you can get the Absinthe Suissesse by request.