Escoces y Especia
Durgin calls this sherry-based daiquiri variation a little homage to the "D.T.O.". That is, the "Daiquiri Time Out." Durgin says, "Rum is really big in the Boston bar and restaurant scene, and the Daiquiri became this kind of bartender’s handshake. You’d ask for a D.T.O. and basically it’s what you drink while you’re looking over the menu and thinking about what you want to drink." Durgin’s ode combines dry La Cigarerra Manzanilla sherry with a lavender and sage honey syrup, Drambuie, and lime juice.
“In terms of the variations between the four different gin & tonics, this one is all about being refreshing," says Durgin. "The Nuestra Casa is more about spice, the Todo La Noche is more citrusy, and the Montana Fizz has a more herbaceous profile," explains Durgin. He opts for "juniper-driven" G'Vine Nouaison gin in this cocktail, layering it with slightly bitter Byrrh Grand Quinquina, housemade lemongrass syrup, and Schweppes tonic.
"This is a more savory, herbaceous take on a gin and tonic, because of the herbs and the more malted-style gin," explains Durgin. Featuring Bols Genever, housemade thyme syrup, lavender bitters, and Fever-Tree Bitter Lemon tonic, Durgin says this riff on the classic cocktail is intended to "mimic the Basque herb garden."
"This is our lighter stirred,more aperitif-style drink," says Durgin. "It’s got more backbone for people who like stirred, boozy cocktails but it’s lower in alcohol, which makes it more food-friendly," he notes. The addition of French aperitif Bonal also helps in this endeavor, he explains. “It’s got a really nice herbal profile and it's immensely mouth-watering. It always makes me hungry whenever I drink it," says Durgin. The Bonal is joined by a combination of Dolin dry vermouth, dry orange curaçao, both Abbott's bitters and Bittermens New England Spiced Cranberry bitters, and a cranberry garnish.
A take on an "old Cobbler Cup," this fruit-forward, shaken cocktail references the restaurant’s fortified wine program. "We were trying to keep in mind the historical context of these spirits—thinking about Spanish settlers coming to the New World and what they would have had with them (Port, Madeira) and what they would have found there," explains Durgin. El Dorado Demerara rum, Blandy’s Rainwater Madeira, and Niepoort Ruby Port form the base of this tribute, which also stars a housemade magnolia shrub, lemon, and fresh blackberry. “The Madeira and Port are rich and deep but still in balance with the rum and citrus," says Durgin. "It’s a drink with a little more body and depth while remaining food-friendly and fresh.”
Higado Frito ($9)
Chef Oringer, who is known for Boston restaurants including Clio and Uni, calls these tempura-fried chicken liver-stuffed sage leaves "a good quick snack to order with a drink while you wait for your friends."
Oringer says that this item from the 'Tapas a la Plancha' section is one of his favorite dishes on the menu. "It's so simple but really good. The baby squid are really tender and we serve them with a farm egg and migas, along with some fried garlic, herbs, and pimenton."