Chef/restaurateur Renee Erickson’s new Seattle bar Deep Dive feels a world away from the futuristic Amazon Spheres office building it’s nested inside. Erickson and her Sea Creatures restaurant group pulled out all the stops, designing a stunner of a bar, with dark tones and moody lighting. To match Erickson’s internationally-inspired menu, cocktail connoisseur Jermaine Whitehead called on a wide range of ingredients for the drinks menu.
Whitehead’s original drink, the Mixed Tape, is a twist on a classic sour. He knew he wanted to build the drink around aquavit, because it’s versatile and nuanced with herbs and spices. From there, he thought about other flavors that would complement that base.
“Whenever I’m creating a cocktail, I always think about how things work in a meal,” Whitehead says. “I look at websites to find what herbs and spices pair well with fruit, and with a little bit of research I found that star anise, fennel, cardamom and black pepper pair well with strawberries.”
Then, he added Ancho Reyes liqueur for a warm — but not spicy — background note. “It’s not like you’re getting a spicy jalapeño margarita,” Whitehead says. “It’s just in the background but really connects in the cocktail.”
Something was still missing, though, so egg whites came in to enliven the texture and add richness to balance the lemon. “When I wrote the cocktail down on paper, there was no egg white,” he adds. “But when I tasted it, I thought it was way too thin with all those intense flavors.”
And finally, a finish of freshly cracked pepper atop the drink adds a crunchy texture and some aromatics. And the nasturtium flower garnish? Well, any cocktail served in a bar this sexy should certainly look the part.
Makes 1 cocktail
1 1/2 ounces Old Ballard strawberry-infused Aquavit
1/2 ounce Ancho Reyes chipotle liqueur
1/2 ounce lemon juice
1/4 ounce raw sugar simple syrup
1 egg white
Dash cardamom bitters
Garnish: fresh cracked black pepper and nasturtium flower
Place all of the ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake. Strain the ice out and put ingredients back into shaker. Shake dry to make the cocktail frothy. Strain into a chilled coupe. Garnish with a nasturtium flower and cracked black pepper.