main_pillskevin_480

POWDERS, PILLS, PAINTS

Kevin Mabry, the whiz kid behind jm Curley's industry-favorite drink menu, is seated in one of the maroon booths in the restaurant-within-a-restaurant known as Bogie's Place, twirling a pen in his right hand.

"I definitely think that bartenders are becoming the new chef superstars of the world," he says with a firm nod. "For sure. People have much more of an appreciation for beverage programs these days, and they're much more knowledgeable off the bat. I see that as a credit to the bartenders that take the extra time to talk to the guests and engage them about what's going on in front of them."

Extra time is something he is absolutely willing to devote to his creations, among them the 21 Temple Gin and Tonic. Mabry uses Peruvian cinchona-bark powder, a bittering agent that features in quinine and various tonic waters, to concoct an à la minute tonic. He puts one-eighth of a teaspoon in the glass, adds some simple syrup, lemon, and lime juice, shakes it up with Plymouth gin and yellow Chartreuse, and finally tops it with soda water.

Mabry's most recent pet project involves dehydrating spirits into soluble sugars, which are then pressed into pill form and used in champagne cocktails for Bogie's Place. Aperol is the fan favorite at the moment, but he plans on building the selection over time.

"I think bartenders are definitely experimenting more and want to be pushing the boundaries," he says. "You have to do it to stay relevant these days; I really believe that."

Back at Clio, Maul is popping open plastic containers of his alcohol paints, a result of reducing extra essences down in a sugar pan to give them a gel-like consistency. The only word I can think of after tasting each is "sparkling." The high notes of each spirit are so concentrated that it almost fizzes with flavor. Maul paints stripes on the walls of a glass, and the paint melds seamlessly into the drink when it's poured.

"I can make a great Sazerac, sure," he says, shrugging. "If you can't, you shouldn't be doing this. But where do you begin and the classics leave off? To me, if you don't challenge yourself by creating your own ingredients and interpretations, you're just hiding in what's already been done. Where are you in that?"

< prev  1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |   next >
Related: On the 10th drink of Christmas, I remember when..., Bergamot, More more >
  Topics: Liquid , Hawthorne, Eastern Standard, Clio,  More more >
| More


Most Popular
ARTICLES BY CASSANDRA LANDRY
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   DIY DRINKING: HOUSE-MADE INGREDIENTS ARE RAISING THE BAR  |  March 12, 2013
    "When I moved to Boston," UpStairs on the Square bar manager Augusto Lino explains, "it was uncommon for bars to have anything house-made beyond a large container of vodka filled with pineapple on the back bar."
  •   FRESH BLOOD: MEET BOSTON’S NEW CULINARY MUSCLE  |  February 21, 2013
    Whether behind the line of a critically acclaimed kitchen, holed up in a basement pumping out some of the best nosh in the city, or braving Boston’s pothole-filled roads to bring you ass-kicking bites, these chefs are fast becoming ones to watch.  
  •   THE STEEP ASCENT OF TEA CUVÉE  |  February 13, 2013
    We've all been told that once upon a time, angry Bostonians dumped three shiploads of English tea in the harbor to protest taxes, but let's be real here — it was probably just really shitty tea, and they were doing what any of us would do when continually plied with subpar beverage choices.
  •   BEE’S KNEES TAKES FLIGHT: CHEF JASON OWENS READIES HIS GOURMET GROCERY  |  February 04, 2013
    "There was a bit of a setback with the wood for the floors," Jason Owens says, a facemask hanging from his neck and a trucker hat perched on his head, his easygoing Nashville drawl rising above the sound of electric saws.
  •   THE CHALLENGE? TURN VALENTINE’S CANDY INTO HAUTE CUISINE — NO DESSERTS ALLOWED  |  February 04, 2013
    As adults, we find ourselves missing those halcyon years when Valentine's Day was just a Halloween knock-off with no pressure and lots of processed sugar.

 See all articles by: CASSANDRA LANDRY