I Spy an Amazing Cocktail

Have you ever read through a menu and spied a cocktail that was made just for you? If so, you’re a kindred spirit.

There are times when I scour a bars’ cocktail menu and absolutely nothing jumps out at me — and, I instinctively know I’ll never return.

Then there are times when I flip through a menu and instantly am intrigued by an ingredient, a flavor, an idea. This is the cocktail I have to have. It’s unique, it’s unexpected, but it always speaks to my taste buds.

I DRINK with my GUT. I rarely ever try craft cocktails (at $12-$16 a pop) to figure out if I like something. I want a twist on something I’ve loved in the past or something so wildly different that it doesn’t even matter if I hate it, it will still be worth it.

I’m proud to say Richmond, Virginia has some of the most amazing cocktail bars and here are a few of the cocktails that recently grabbed my attention.

Electric Jellyfish: ostervit, dolin blanc, green chartreuse, lime, spirulina (Alewife)

While the name made me squeamish, the mention of spirulina, a micro-algae that is classified as a super food, peaked my interest. Plus, the mention of ostervit put me over the top since I had no idea what it was. Turns out it’s a Virginian take on an Aquavit, the traditional Scandinavian spirit (meaning “water of life”) from James River Distilling.

Why I loved it: Stunning drink, an unknown local ingredient, a super food, and descriptor as a ‘veggie daiquiri’

Does This Spark Joy: bombay sapphire east gin, junmai sake, yuzu cordial, ostervit, dry curacao, melon bitters, shiso oil (Heritage)

Marie Kondo, the Japanese organizing guru, recommends only keeping those objects and items that spark joy — and, that’s what this drink immediately made me think of. The play on words combined with the use of traditional Japanese ingredients is deeply creative.

Why I loved it: The beauty of the shiso oil drops lightly on the top of the cocktail continues to spark joy!

So Fresh & So Green Green: Plymouth Gin, Cynar, Green Pepper (Saison)

On paper, the combo of botanicals + artichoke + green bell pepper left me immediately salivating. In actuality, this cocktail is herbaceousness at it’s best.

Why I loved it: I’ve always liked herbaceous, green, flavors in wine so it’s not surprising that this is a family of flavors ripe for exploration in cocktails too.