In good taste: Red Pump’s perfumed cocktails help you come to your senses

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La Dalia is Red Pump’s take on a margarita: Espolòn tequila, dried rose, thyme, honey, Luxardo, lime and salted cucumber. Photo: Jeffrey Gleason La Dalia is Red Pump’s take on a margarita: Espolòn tequila, dried rose, thyme, honey, Luxardo, lime and salted cucumber. Photo: Jeffrey Gleason

“Food can affect you from a memory standpoint, like when smelling a red sauce reminds you of your grandma’s house,” says Red Pump Kitchen’s Kendall Moore. “We can do this with perfumed drinks, too.”    

Last fall, the downtown restaurant’s drink menu incorporated elements like sage-infused vodka and spritzes of cinnamon, clove and mint, and, says chief mixologist Moore, the seasonal trend will continue this spring with dried sunflower petal and dandelion infusions. Moore nibbles a viola leaf from the restaurant’s garden that “has a sugariness, almost like cotton candy,” and says he loves to incorporate the local terroir into his inventions.

For a bit of textural diversity, Moore is experimenting with herb-infused bobas—caviar-sized vodka gel balls that pop when bitten. “We can take a delicious cocktail like a daiquiri and add a little mint, lime or viola flower explosion to it,” he says.

Another idea of Moore’s is a Sazerac cocktail that substitutes the ice cube with a cold sphere of absinthe, bitters and brown sugar, stabilized with agar, that guests can eat with a spoon after finishing the drink. “Our focus is to use our own space and ingredients to make something that pays respect to the region and to the chef’s food—something unique and inspiring.”—Lisa Martin

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