Doug Derrick, Bar Manager at Nostrana in Portland, Oregon, is a huge fan of strong flavors. His bar menu sports one of Portland's most extensive listings of amaro, vermouth, chinato, fernet, and bitter spirits like Campari and Cynar. But it's his cocktail list that really embodies Doug's love and craft for strong flavors. "I like to start with something bold and flavorful and then work backwards from there, putting the pieces together to preserve those strong flavors but with balance," explains Doug.
While many of the cocktail menus in Portland restaurants tend to stick to more traditional classic cocktails, Doug's menu at Nostrana is all about being bold and taking customers to places they've never been before. "The craft scene has been around for a while now, and so there's a real opportunity for bartenders to try to do something different. I'm not interested in playing it safe. I'd rather do something that hasn't been done and in the process create some real memorable experiences for my guests."
A perfect example of Doug's approach is his Broomstick Sidecar Cocktail. "I gave a simple and familiar name to a fairly complex cocktail. It sounds like something familiar so people are more likely to give it a try over something that they are unfamiliar with, like Strega."
- 1 oz Strega
- 1 oz Fresh Apple Juice (Doug uses Bramley's Seedling Apple Juice)
- 1/2 oz Bonded Laird's Applejack
- 1/2 oz Lemon Juice
- 1/2 oz Quince Peel Syrup
Shake over ice and serve up with an apple slice.
To create the Broomstick Sidecar, Doug started with Strega. "It's an herbal saffron liquor at 40%, and I had a tough time trying to find ways to balance it out." To deal with Strega's sweetness, Doug paired it with Bonded Applejack which helped stretch it out, but it also raised the booziness of the drink, so he backed it down with apple juice, then used lemon juice for balance, and quince peel syrup to bring all the flavors together.
In addition to Strega, Doug has made some other very bold and flavorful spirits the center piece of his drinks, including the incredibly popular Ramazzotti Swizzle, Pineapple Green Chartreuse, and a Negroni of the Month.
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