Autumn is IN the Glass at Merchant Bar

Autumn is IN the Glass at Merchant Bar

This post appears courtesy of New Market Wilm. View the original post here.

What we’re drinking: Off The Wagon (bourbon, walnut liquor, early grey, sweet vermouth, toasted cinnamon)

Where we’re drinking it: Merchant Bar

Why we’re drinking it: To check out the light show that comes with each order – and because it tastes great

Who created it: Diego Paqui

Diego: “When the leaves start to fall, everyone is thinking about cider, cinnamon, pumpkins, warmth – it’s all in their heads. So when you make a drink, you have to go inside people’s heads.”

“The bourbon brings sweetness without being overpowering. We add walnut liquor, that gives it some nuttiness. We take the early grey and make a syrup. You don’t want to have something that’s too boozy, to sweet, too dry – we’re looking for balance. And when you toast the cinnamon and sprinkle it through the torch, it brings out all those smells, all the cinnamon taste … it’s pretty cool.”

“It has to please everybody – a bourbon drinker, someone who likes strong drinks, someone who doesn’t like bourbon. You drink the Off The Wagon, and even if you don’t like bourbon, you’re pleased! Because it has that cinnamon that hits on your nose when you first take a sip.”

On creating cocktails and tending bar:

“It’s not just me. It’s everybody. We create a drink, and it takes three, four attempts to make it right. ‘Less bourbon.’ ‘More vermouth.’ Everyone will have input.”

“People who know what we do expect a certain quality. Across the street at La Fia, the drinks complement the food. But at the end of the night, when people go to Merchant Bar, it’s to have a drink. The food complements the drinks.”

“So drinks at Merchant are a little more complicated. And there are specific drinks where the ingredients have to be precise, or the drink is not going to taste the same. So you have to care. Everybody says, ‘Oh, I’ve been bartending for a long time’ — but if you don’t like to make cocktails, this is not going to be the right place for you.”

“And I love making them.”