Happy Hump Day! Here's the cocktail that will get you through to Friday.
By 5 p.m., Little Country Gentleman (8135 Maryland Avenue, Clayton; 314-725-0719) is coming to life, emerging from its daily slumber. In the morning hours, the whitewashed rustic space in Clayton is occupied by Half & Half, one of the most popular breakfast spots in town. But in the afternoon hours, a transformation takes a place.
Perhaps the most visible signal that a change has occurred is the presence of Jeffrey Moll Jr., who stands behind the bar, accoutrements at hand, ready to make some fine cocktails. It seems we've stumbled in at just the right time, because Moll is currently reimagining one of his favorite drinks to fit the colder temperatures -- the "37 ½," and we're feeling the sweet, sweet burn of whiskey and smoke.
The "37 ½" brings the heat...literally, it's smoking upon arrival. Moll says the drink is one of his favorites because "it's layered, savory going into fruity and then a spiciness." It's definitely complex, the creation of a mad scientist, but oh so tasty.
Moll starts with bourbon, adding his own homemade crème de mure (a blackberry liquor), then a locally made ginger liquor, followed by the bitter amaro Zucca, tincture white pepper and, finally, the pièce de résistance, barbecue bitters, which "evoke the spiciness of the barbecue grill," explains Moll. The garnish of thyme and a single blackberry nearly complete the picture before the Smoking Gun. This device pulls in and concentrates the smoke from apple woodchips into the cocktail glass. Moll covers the drink for a short time, allowing the smoke to melt and infuse the liquor. The "37 ½" is then uncapped and presented.
Before even taking a sip, your nostrils will be inundated by smoky bourbon and herbs, a truly aromatic experience like no other. The flavors are rich, warm and deserve to be served alongside a Thanksgiving feast.
Jeffrey Moll Jr. will soon be departing St. Louis, headed south to Austin, Texas, and so it's crucial you go experience this drink, made by its creator, while you still have the chance. Trust us, it's a gentle burn you won't want to miss.
After the jump, how to make it at home:
"The 37 1/2"
1 1/2 oz. bourbon 1/2 oz. ginger liquor 3/4 oz. creme de mure 3/4 oz. amaro 4 drops barbecue bitters 4 drops white pepper tincture
Garnished with blackberry and thyme, stir with ice.
Gut Check is always hungry for tips. Email us!
Riverfront Times works for you, and your support is essential.
Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of St. Louis and beyond.
Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.
Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep St. Louis' true free press free.