Slideshow: Cheese Tinctures and Sesame Orgeat: New Cocktails at Saison in San Francisco

Coat of Arms
Coat of Arms
White says this drink is for those who drink Manhattans but are looking for something a little different. "It's like apples and cheese...in Manhattan form." He starts by concocting a housemade vermouth with rosé wine, assorted aromatics and spices including cinnamon, angelica root, and wormwood, which gets mixed with Drouin V.S.O.P. Calvados. "It's not uncommon to see several hundred different types of apples in one calvados—it's almost a cocktail in itself," notes White. For the "funky, savory note on top," the drink is sprayed with an aromatic tincture made by macerating smoked goat cheese in high proof alcohol.
Voyager
Voyager
"I was walking around an Asian grocery store in New York's Chinatown and came across white and black sesame. My first thought was to make orgeat, and roast the sesame—some darker, and some almost uncooked—to add depth of flavor," says White. He'd been tinkering with Linie Aquavit drinks separately, and happened to smell the bottle and realize that sesame could work well. "I wanted a tiki-style drink—very refreshing—with savory flavors," he said, and the result was the Voyager, made with aquavit, lemon, and sesame orgeat, mixed with Manzanilla sherry, which White says "ties everything together and adds a level of umami." A ring of Angostura bitters on top of the crushed ice helps the drink evolve while you sip it.
Saison Milk Punch
Saison Milk Punch
We've chatted a bit about clarified milk punch before on Serious Eats. Saison's version is a 2-3 day long process. Coconut water is used as the base for a spiced syrup ("The coconut water adds body and texture," notes White). The syrup is mixed with Hakushu 12-year whisky from Japan, which White describes as having "a lot of umami, a touch of smoke, great depth of flavor—it's intense but incredibly clean." Also added: potent Navy strength Smith & Cross rum, funky Batavia Arrack, plus smoked pineapple juice "to heighten the smoky flavors of the Hakushu." You can't see the milk once the drink has been clarified, but the dairy addition contributes "not only flavor but also rich texture" to the final cocktail, according to White.
Fruits of Labor
Fruits of Labor
White started formulating this drink back at The Daily as part of a friendly staff competition to come up with a good St. Germain cocktail. This fizzy concoction is made with Clear Creek pear eau de vie, fresh lemon, Aperol, St. Germain, orange bitters, and Champagne, finished off with a grapefruit twist. "It's nice to have multiple layers of citrus," notes White, describing the drink as "herbaceous and tart with a touch of bitterness from the Aperol."