Note: First Looks give previews of new drinks and menus we're curious about. Since they are arranged photo shoots, we do not make critical evaluations or recommendations.
Each drink at the newly opened and much-anticipated Husk Nashville attempts to tell a story—start with setting, add a dash of history, build on character, and let the experience unfold. The small but growing cocktail list has been a collaborative effort, with each cocktail moving from its inception with one of the bartenders to bar manager and sommelier Kenny Lyons, to general manager Dan Latimer, and then finally to Chef Sean Brock, who has been very hands-on.
"Byproduct has come to play a major role in our restaurant," says Latimer. And that's as true behind the bar as it is in the kitchen. In fact the two facets seem to work harmoniously together. Case in point: faced with a (expletive deleted) truckload of fresh peaches (apparently it was a lot), the kitchen decided to pickle and preserve. But instead of throwing out the drained off pickling liquid at the end, someone thought, could the bar use this? Sure enough. And now that liquid's at the core of a forthcoming summertime cocktail.
"Most of this is born [out of] and rooted in history," says Latimer. "When families were doing this kind of thing, they were reusing out of necessity. By carrying out that philosophy we create a family feel." Even the names of the cocktails play on a combined sense of ingredients and history, which Latimer hopes creates a richer sense of meaning and experience. Plus, he says, "hopefully, it's fun too."
For the bartenders, this means always paying attention to the world around them. "A lot of the landscape is edible," says bartender Mike Wolf, speaking about the grounds of the converted home on Rutledge Hill where the restaurant sits. "So we can walk outside, clip some rosemary or lovage and then make a drink with it. It's great." Beyond being seasonal, Husk's approach to food and beverage means there's a story to tell with every drink. Take a peek at the cocktails at Husk Nashville in the slideshow »
About the Author: W.S. Lyon wanders high and low places with a book in one hand and a drink in the other. He writes, works and lives in Nashville, TN.