A margarita, a Manhattan. Most of you could go home right now and mix one of these classics. But the drinks at Maven—a new restaurant in the Lower Haight that ambitiously tackles food and cocktail pairings—are not of the make-at-home variety. Bartender Kate Bolton mixes, emulsifies, and reduces her libations with the care of a pastry chef and the showmanship of a magician.
The International Mistress makes unlikely allies of amaro and mezcal with the help of orgeat syrup and grapefruit juice, while Santa’s Cookies, a hyper-seasonal blend of rye whiskey, apple, chestnuts, and maple syrup (paired flawlessly with butternut squash agnolotti), is better than Christmas morning.
But it was the Global Warming that really captured my attention. The first sip is delicious—gin, sake and Riesling make it light and refreshing. But it keeps getting better—more complex and subtly boozier — thanks to the “slow release flavor mechanism” of an absinthe sorbet that floats on the surface and is “balanced exactly to mirror the cocktail (sweetness, alcohol, acid) so that as the sorbet melts, it adds a new flavor without diluting the drink,” says beverage director Jay Bordeleau.
Maven kindly agreed to reveal its secrets to 7x7. While we wouldn’t expect any normal person to attempt this multi-day cocktail recipe at home (it’s all prep—making the actual cocktail takes about two minutes), you might impress the fellow diners seated with you at one of Maven’s community tables with your behind-the-scenes insight. Or maybe you will just quietly appreciate the drink a little more than you would have otherwise.
The Global Warming
Maven uses the Hakutsuru Junmai-Ginjo sake for this drink.
¾ oz dry, aromatic sake
1 oz Ransom barrel-aged Old Tom gin
¾ oz dry, highly aromatic German Riesling, preferably with age
¾ oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ oz gomme syrup (a simple syrup with xanthan gum added for greater viscosity)
½ ounce absinthe sorbet (see below).
2 dashes Regan's No. 5 Orange Bitters
Combine all the ingredients except the sorbet in a cocktail shaker and shake vigorously with ice. Double strain into a chilled coupe glass. Garnish with a ½-ounce scoop of sorbet.
But first, let’s make a cup of tea:
2 cups hot water
1 bunch of tarragon leaves
3 star anise pods
20 g wormwood root
10 g fennel seeds
5 g coriander seeds
Combine. Steep for one hour, then strain.
Finally, the sorbet!
2 cups absinthe tisane (inquire within)
1 cup Kubler absinthe
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 oz freshly squeezed lime juice
1 cup gomme
10 g glucose
Mix and freeze the sorbet in ice cream maker.
Or give Ms. Bolton $11 and she'll make it for you. That's our personal recommendation.