Nothing takes the air out of happy hour like lofty sustainability talk fogging up your Gin & Tonic, especially when the plastic straw you’re chewing on has a strong chance of becoming fish food. But these discussions are becoming more common as the bar world steadily acknowledges its impact on the environment, and bartenders are focusing on minimizing the carbon footprint associated with slinging drinks. One common practice to aid in these sustainability efforts is using ingredients that would traditionally be thrown away, as bartender Justin Lavenue does with the Pour Ma Guele. The owner of Austin bar The Roosevelt Room and its attached event space the Eleanor, Lavenue uses cassia bark and lemon peels—normally discarded after making drinks—to craft this smoked, room temperature take on a Martini variation.
The Pour Ma Guele—which translates to “For My Mouth” in French—starts with Bombay gin, Dolin dry vermouth (or another good quality dry vermouth), maraschino liqueur (like Luxardo) and verjus blanc, a tart, non-alcoholic grape juice made from pressed-off wine grapes. It also gets a few dashes of orange bitters and two of absinthe—Lavenue uses St. George absinthe verte from California. In an unconventional move, the Pour Ma Guele does not get shaken or stirred over ice—instead it’s stirred together and served neat, at room temperature. To chill it slightly and add the necessary level of dilution, Lavenue adds a half ounce of icy cold water.
A final element to add is the smoke, which is done by igniting the cassia bark and dried lemon peel and inverting a wine glass over the smoke, filling the glass and seasoning it. After adding the stirred cocktail, you’ll want to express lemon and grapefruit peels over the glass. In the spirit of the drink, those should then be saved for drying for future cocktails.
- 1 1/2 ounces Bombay Sapphire gin
- 1 1/2 ounces Dolin dry vermouth
- 1 1/2 ounces water, ice cold
- 1/4 ounces maraschino liqueur
- 1/4 ounces verjus blanc
- 3 dashes orange bitters
- 2 dashes St. George absinthe verte
- 1 tablespoon cassia bark
- 1 dried lemon peel
- Garnish: dried rosebuds
Add the Bombay Sapphire gin, Dolin dry vermouth, water, maraschino liqueur, verjus blanc, orange bitters and St. George absinthe verte into a mixing glass without ice and stir well.
In a small ramekin, combine cassia bark chips and dried lemon peel, then carefully light with a torch. After everything begins to smoke, invert a white wine glass over the ramekin, and capture the smoke inside the glass to season it for 20 to 30 seconds.
Pour the drink into the prepared wine glass.
Express the oils of lime and grapefruit peels over the glass, then discard.
Garnish with dried rosebuds.