This week's humpday cocktail comes from Herbie's Vintage 72 (405 N. Euclid Avenue; 314-769-9595), which just released its new spring cocktail menu at the beginning of April. We asked for something evocative of spring but not too sweet. Bartender John Grochowski recommended a drink that he helped to create, the "Blood Diamond."
Before you freak out about the political correctness (or lack thereof) of the name of this cocktail, know that there's actually pretty good reasoning behind it. The mixture of hibiscus vodka, Solerno blood-orange liqueur, simple syrup and Burgans Albarino creates a clear cocktail that shimmers and picks up reflections of other colors when the blood-orange bitters are added to finish the drink.
Grochowski is a cocreator of this light, refreshing drink, which tastes like an upscale riff on a screwdriver.
"With the 'Blood Diamond,' I didn't really want to do anything that was really sweet for spring, but I wanted something that was a little refreshing and crisp," Grochowski says. "The hibiscus vodka with the blood-orange liqueur gives it that sweetness. Then you finish it off with the Albarino, which is a nice, crisp Spanish wine that keeps it from being too overwhelming."
Even while sipping the "Blood Diamond" at Herbie's dim bar during the evening, Gut Check was able to imagine knocking back a few of these from the sun room on a nice, warm day. The zap of blood-orange liqueur transported us to a summer market where we peeled and ate a fresh, juicy orange, then washed it down with vodka, which is totally something we would do.
If orangey wonderfulness isn't quite your cup of liquor, try another one of Herbie's new cocktails, like the "Good Ol' Boy," which features Old Overholt Rye Whiskey, Amaro Nonino, blueberries, lime juice and simple syrup. It's a little, you know, manlier than blood-orange vodka in a cocktail glass, but regardless of what you order, we suspect you're going to leave Herbie's with your thirst quenched and your taste buds singing of spring.
Editor's note: Wednesday. Hump Day. Congrats, you've made it halfway through the work week! Unfortunately, you still have two days to go.
Dunno about you, but in order to survive the midweek blues, we're going to need a drink. Which brings us to our Wednesday Gut Check feature: "Gut Check's Hump-Day Cocktail Suggestion."
Each week we take you to one of our favorite St. Louis bars (and, oh, the list is long) for a drink (or two) we -- in consultation with the bartender -- highly recommend.
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