The energy in Barndiva on Mother’s Day is electric. At Brunch we have two, three and sometimes four generations of moms being feted in a joyful commotion of laughter, family stories, dogs in the garden, babies passed around until they’ve had enough and let you know it. Dinner is a quieter, more elegant affair with love-you-mom bouquets leaning this way and that on the banquettes and candle lit tables, beautiful plates of food fueling reflective conversation.
While we always expand the champagne list and offer Barndiva’s Seasonal List as well as The Gallery Bar’s Classic Collection, Special Cocktails have always been an integral part of Mother’s Day for us. A Mother’s Day cocktail should be celebratory, not too alcoholic, and deliver a few surprises with a soft punch. Don't worry, Mom can take it.
Go Big For Mama is classic Sarah Cleveland. Here, our lead bartender has taken the idea for a sparkling cocktail composed around a soupcon of brandy, the spicy notes of ginger canton liqueur, fresh lemon juice and a favorite bitters of late...grapefruit hibiscus. The gorgeous nose comes from variegated apple/pineapple mint we grow here in the gardens. I do believe the mama of this plant came from one of the wonderful Occidental Arts and Ecology plant sales. "Big” is a reference to the Magnums of Roederer that finish the cocktail, and to big love, of course.
Our other new cocktail is a first from bartender Chris Wright, who, when not studying opera for an advanced degree at SSU is the Barn’s go-to for devising incredible non-alcoholic libations for Dealer’s Choice. NAs are the vegetarians and vegans of bar world, and feared for as many silly reasons. Get over it. Building a drink around a base spirit is not always your entry to the ideas you have for it. I've had (and we've created) a great many great drinks that work exceedingly well with, and without alcohol.
For Mother’s Day I asked Chris to update an NA classic handed down from his Mum, Patricia, and see if he could make it work with Vodka. He choose Organic 360 but the resulting dark ruby red cocktail, summer shimmery from the first sip, took its incredible flavor from the combination of thyme infused huckleberry jus and fresh grapefruit juice. A surprising delicacy you notice on the second or third sip rises from a hint of rosewater, and a lingering scent of the St George Absinthe Chris sprays inside the glass before building the drink, with or without the vodka. An exotic bouquet that has you at hello, with a curious familiarity. While photographing him making the drink, I watched as he rubbed a thick slice of fresh lime peel against the inside of the martini glass. We’re calling the cocktail “Whatever It Takes.”
Start out in that state of mind this Mother’s Day as you celebrate and you can’t go wrong. Go Big for Mama cause she does Whatever it Takes.