Cosmopolitan mixologist Mariena Mercer has a voracious reading habit: four books each month, with two to three going at any given time. And the tomes occupying her nightstand have a quirky habit of manifesting themselves in “Miss Wizard’s” menus. To wit, the new 10-cocktail list that launched October 25 at the Cosmo’s Chandelier 1.5 bar features the Cat’s Cradle ($14), inspired by the Kurt Vonnegut novel of the same name. But while that book is a satirical commentary all about the madness of modern man, this feminine, culinary-style fall drink is all about her Professor Plum plum-rose shrub. Shrubs—sweetened vinegar-based syrups—are “a great vehicle to impart depth, brightness and complexity,” Mercer says. The key is to let much of the vinegar boil off before cooling the syrup. To this she adds Fords Gin, Hum liqueur, lemon juice and Dry lavender soda. So, what’s next? Perhaps “Atlas Shrubbed?”
As served at Chandelier 1.5 in the Cosmopolitan, $14
In a mixing glass, combine 1½ ounce Fords Gin, ½ ounce Hum liqueur, 2 ounces Professor Plum plum-rose shrub (see below) and ¾ ounce lemon juice. Add ice, shake and strain over fresh ice in a whiskey tumbler rimmed with Flora Dust (equal parts ground, violet and rose sugars). Top with Dry lavender soda and garnish with a fresh rose petal.
Professor Plum Plum-Rose Shrub
Bring 1 liter of water to a boil. Slowly add 1 liter white sugar. Blend 15 plums and 5 cardamom pods and add to water/sugar mixture with 2 tablespoons rose water, ¼ cup Champagne vinegar and the zest of 1 orange, 1 grapefruit and 1 lemon. Keep on medium heat for 20 minutes to boil off the vinegar. Cool and store refrigerated for up to 1 month.