Cocktail of the Week
Rachel's stellar new cocktail Kiss Kirá started with the simple desire to celebrate our Asian Pear harvest, which was particularly abundant this year. But nothing is simple when it comes to working with pears, whose subtle flavor registers as a fragrance as much as a taste. Their delicacy is easily overwhelmed ~ whether in a composed dish, lost in the sugar of a jam, or buried beneath the bolder competing piquancy of a chutney. Asian Pears, prized for their high water content (which contributes to a nice crispness when ripe and chilled) are particularly hard to work with. But ah, when ‘paired’ with spirits, these pears can really soar.
Good Eau de vie captures their essence particularly well, and in the past we’ve crafted some great pear cocktails using vodka. Kiss Kirá is our first go at using citrus and spice infused whiskey with fresh purée from our dry farmed Nashi's.
Rachel had it in her mind to work with Rye, which she infused with an autumnal mix of orange peel, roasted fennel and coriander seed, clove and cinnamon. Shaken with Canton Ginger Liqueur and a hint of fresh citrus, which brightened the spice, the final cocktail created a beautiful nimbus when poured. It was the color of a desert sunset. Even filtering the purée twice, the body of the cocktail ended up on the thick side with a silken texture redolent of our pears.
An inspired final touch was to paint the martini glass with a swirl of balsamic honey gastrique which according to Rachel, “provided a balance of tart to sweet, while adding another element of depth at the forefront of the palate.”
Usually, with a flavor profile as difficult to nail down and hold as an Asian Pear's, less is more, but this is an incredibly thoughtful cocktail. It opens slowly in the glass, and as the gastrique melts it plays an intriguing game of hide and seek that dances with the rich loamy flavor of the Rye, always managing to return to the elusive flavor of pear. Kiss Kirá is a knockout. Be warned though, as ethereal as Indian Summer, it will only be on the Fall menu while the pears last.
Also making a brief appearance in the restaurant over the next few weeks is an 'Amuse' of the first press of the season of Barndiva Ridge Apple Juice, a blend of dry farmed Spitzenberg, Golden Delicious and Jonathans.
Even if you aren't dining, come in for a shot on the house. Fall is a great time to reacquaint yourself with the Barn. But get ready for a surprise if you haven't been in of late.
All text Jil Hales. All photos Jil Hales (unless otherwise noted.)