The latest Cocktail Challenge, in which local bartenders challenge fellow bartenders with an ingredient of their choice.
"Meat butter" is how Alex Enochs of Charlatan describes bone marrow, the ingredient with which Gilt Bar's Rémy Walle challenged him to create a cocktail. "Bone marrow in a cocktail is pretty ridiculous, and I think Rémy wanted to stick it to me a little bit," he says.
But Enochs points out that taking shots of alcohol through half of a marrow bone became a trend a few years ago, first in Portland. "It's a whole dining experience where you order bone marrow, eat it, and then lift it up to your face and use the bone to luge a liquor or a cocktail through." Enochs has tried it with whiskey and says that the bone makes the spirit taste more buttery and beefy.
The bartender headed in a different direction for his challenge, though, making a bone marrow reduction by roasting marrow bones and then cooking them with water to create a stock. He used that stock in a Bloody Mary that he called the Acheulean Maria, after the Paleolithic period during which early humans started making bone tools. (He also used tequila in the cocktail, making it a Bloody Maria). Bone marrow found a second use in the bone marrow salt with which Enochs rimmed the glass.
Enochs says his first attempt at the cocktail was "way too beefy—it felt like you were drinking tomato-beef soup." It didn't help that he doesn't really like Bloody Marys in the first place. But once he adjusted the proportions, Enochs discovered that he'd created a drink he actually enjoyed. All it took was a little bone marrow.
Enochs has challenged Ryan Murphy of Crown Tap Room to create a cocktail with movie theater popcorn butter.
2 oz Olmeca Altos blanco tequila
1.25 oz bone marrow reduction
3 oz Bloody Mary mix*
Combine all ingredients and shake slightly with ice (not too much, or the fat will solidify). Rim a pint glass with bone marrow salt (salt baked on top of bone marrow for 15 minutes). Pour in the cocktail, and garnish with a wedge each of lemon and lime.
*Bloody Mary mix (makes enough for two cocktails)
6 oz tomato juice
A quarter bar spoon of smoked paprika
One bar spoon of cayenne pepper
Two bar spoons of black pepper
3-4 dashes Crystal Hot Sauce
A little Worcestershire sauce