Portland culinary sovereign Vitaly Paley expanded his modest gastronomic empire late last year to include Rosa Rosa, his fifth restaurant and second to be found in the first floor of a hotel. The restaurant and bar, located in the Dossier Hotel, brings eats from the Ottoman and Roman Empires, like Turkish lamb meatballs and Georgian-pressed chicken.
In the bar, beverage director Charles Hildreth brings likeminded flavors to his sippable concoctions. He channels the Middle Eastern influences of the restaurants in the house cocktail Call to Prayer, spinning it off into the Call Me for Valentine’s Day
“Vitaly talked about traveling in the Middle East, hearing the call to prayer several times per day, and a common drink of yogurt, water, salt and honey,” Hildreth says. “That was the jumping-off point that brought us to utilize Raki [an unsweetened, anise-flavored, alcoholic drink] from Turkey, rosewater and the addition of this terrific, cured sumac we received before opening. We now use it all over the menu.”
This creamy, slightly sweet drink that is made with ouzo at the restaurant seemed appropriate to Hildreth for the romantic holiday. Here, he puts a local riff on the drink for you to make at home, featuring Aviation Gin.
“It’s an accessible alternative for home bartenders who might not be into anise spirits,” Hildreth says. “In applying gin to this cocktail, I think it is important to choose one with a distinct aromatic component, Aviation has that.”
The drink also calls for Greek yogurt, which Hildreth says acts as the medium. “It dominates the texture and adds a tart backbone to balance the honey, and in the case of the ‘Call Me,’ the addition of cherry syrup,” he adds.
Try the cocktail at home or at the menu at Rosa Rosa with the aforementioned lamb meatballs, in a “sweet-sour agrodolce situation” that Hildreth says makes a lot of sense together.
Makes 1 cocktail
Combine all ingredients in a mixing tin and shake vigorously with ice. Double strain into a Turkish coffee glass, rimmed with even parts sumac powder and sugar.
*For the cran-cherry purée, Rosa Rosa combines Luxardo Cherry syrup with a finely strained purée of cranberry.