The eighth annual Tales of the Cocktail spirits conference in New Orleans recently brought some of Las Vegas’ shiniest bar stars together with other industry luminaries and influencers for a week of hands-on seminars, rollicking parties and the Spirited Dinner series, where the menu revolves around the libations. Wynn bartender Darby Kelly and Wynn-Encore property mixologist Patricia Richards joined forces with a native New Orleanian, chef Chris Brown, for a five-course, six-cocktail dinner at Zoë Restaurant at the W Hotel.
Richards and Kelly paired the Black Shrubb cocktail with Brown’s pan-seared grouper, jambalaya couscous and wilted greens. “I thought the nectarine and elderflower would add delicious flavor notes to the mild grouper while the couscous would complement the spicy notes of the cocktail,” Kelly says. And did it ever! Making exceptional use of Creole Shrubb orange liqueur and going so far as to incorporate it into the cocktail’s name, the Black Shrubb displayed a perfect balance of sweetness, acidity and heat. The drink’s intriguing complexity simply rolled out the red carpet for Brown’s refined regional cuisine. How’s that for Southern hospitality?
- ⅕ of a ripe nectarine, sliced
- 1½ ounce Jim Beam Black 8 Year
- ¾ ounce Clément Créole Shrubb
- ¾ ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
- ½ ounce D’arbo elderflower syrup
- 2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
- 1 slice jalapeño plus one extra for garnish
- 1 slice nectarine for garnish
Method: In a mixing glass, muddle the nectarine with the elderflower syrup. Add the remaining ingredients, ice, and shake vigorously. Double-strain over fresh ice into a double Old Fashioned glass. Garnish with slices of nectarine and jalapeño.