I am a weirdly complicated person. My obsessive-compulsive nature loves order and organization, but it is contrasted with an equally creative side full of divergent ideas that often compel me to do the exact opposite of what seems logical. Strange things happen when you try doing stuff "wrong," but every so often the results are interesting and really good.
Kind of like the delicious and way too easy to drink Forbidden Negroni ($11, gin, Campari, sweet vermouth, egg white) at The Coachman, the result of bar manager John Codd's attempt to make the classic drink work with a blender. Typically a stirred drink, the technique runs counter-intuitive to how you would normally make the cocktail, but the effect is refreshingly delicious.
"The blended Negroni came from a love that I had for the three simple ingredients and the initiative to prove that a blended cocktail can thrive with even the most distinct flavor profiles," says Codd. "The added egg whites soften it up. Adding limes as a garnish turns this already beautiful bitter stirred cocktail to a lighter more refreshing drink."
The Forbidden Negroni is almost creamy, lighter tasting than the original, with the bitterness tamed down and the citrus fruit of the Campari turned up. For the cocktail nerd, the drink works in part because it shouldn't, and because the same ingredients in the same proportions blended tastes completely different than the usual Negroni.
Other drinks on the menu are equally interesting dubs on historic Victorian and Georgian era of English drinks, made modern and relevant. The Knickerbocker ($11, Appleton V/X Jamaican Rum, strawberry, kina, lemon, sparkling wine) is classic yet bright and feels seasonally inspired. While the spirituous Lass O' Gowrie ($11, Hakushu 12 Year Whisky, honey, Punt E Mes, Peychaud's Bitters, piece of ice) base of Japanese Whisky wasn't something available in that era, but Codd like to take a pragmatic interpretation of those recipes.
"We try to use the listed ingredients and historical techniques," says Codd. "That being said, sometimes we break out of the parameters, and you can say it was a launch pad or just a framework."
Those recipes get tested and adjusted by Codd and his bar staff, each offering a tweak, adjustment, or reinterpretation, including Erik Adkins, the bar director for the whole Slanted Door group. That said, the cocktail show is run by Codd and crew. "[Adkins] helps out when he can, but now-a-days, it usually consists of him stopping in and saying things like 'Who gave Johnny a blender?!' and 'no you can't have a centrifuge,'" says Codd.
Keep an eye out for a centrifuge.
1 oz. Beefeater Gin
1 oz. Campari
1 oz. Carpano Antica vermouth
½ oz. Egg whites
Combine all ingredients in a blender with crushed ice. Blend until smooth and pour into a Collins glass. Squeeze a wedge of lime juice into the drink and drop in the glass to garnish. Serve with a straw.
The Coachman, 1148 Mission (at 7th), 813-1701