The cocktail menu at Downtown’s newly opened Carson Kitchen is a delightful hodge-podge of craft liquors, culinary ingredients and spirit-forward notions. “Farm-to-table” were the marching orders for Southern Wine & Spirits mixologist JR Starkus, who was tasked with putting together the menu, and who chose smaller, artisan brands over big names. The result is a something-for-everyone lineup of nine cocktails that show off vermouth, beer, sparkling wine, preserves and some unlikely combinations. The most complex is The Towns End ($11), in which two bitter Italian amari from Vittone collide with sweet rock and rye. The key is the ice sphere, which slowly melts, diluting the powerful mixture juuuust right. But don’t worry about over-dilution. The idea that such a delicious drink would even sit long enough for that to happen? It doesn’t stand an ice ball’s chance in Vegas.
The Towns End
As served at Carson Kitchen, $11
In a mixing glass, combine 1½ ounces Hochstadter’s Slow & Low Rock and Rye, ½ ounce Fernet Vittone, ½ ounce Amaro del Sole, 2 dashes Regans’ Orange Bitters No. 6 and 1 dash Angostura Aromatic Bitters. Add ice, stir for at least 30 seconds and strain over an ice sphere into a double Old Fashioned glass. Garnish with a swath of fresh orange peel.