In the Drink Charleston Grill’s Jason Hall becomes the Charleston Wine + Food Festival’s cocktail captain with a spicy sweet libation called Ginger & the Professor
WRITTEN BY Marion Sullivan Photographs by Ann Catherine CamPbell & isa salazar
In late January, six local bartenders arrived at the Art Institute of Charleston with infused liquors, antioxidant beverages, and homemade syrups in their arsenals, ready to shake, pour, and serve for the title of BB&T Charleston Wine + Food Festival’s second annual Mixologist Competition. Narrowed from a field of 15 recipe entries featuring either Woodford Reserve bourbon and/or Tuaca Italian liqueur, the finalists prepared an array of original concoctions for the panel of judges, who would select a winner based on the libations’ taste, aroma, appearance, creativity, and presentation.
Of the creative contenders, Jason Hall of Charleston Grill emerged victorious with his “Ginger and the Professor,” a spicy yet refreshing mix of clove- and star anise-infused Woodford Reserve, ginger liqueur, apricot purée, and ginger beer. “I started with the apricot and ginger combination and experimented by infusing the bourbon with various spices,” says Hall of his inspiration. “The black licorice flavor of star anise is an acquired taste, but I think in this cocktail, it’s pretty subtle.” He does recommend letting the drink “marinate” for a moment to let the flavors really meld.
As the festival’s featured mixologist, Hall will be pouring samples of Ginger and the Professor at the festival’s sold-out “Salute to Charleston Chefs: 2010 Opening Night Party” on Thursday, March 4. If you don’t have a ticket but are craving a taste, head to the Charleston Grill, where the winning drink is featured on the cocktail menu. Or mix it yourself—Hall shares his recipe:
Ginger & the Professor (Serves 1) 1 oz. clove- and star anise-infused Woodford Reserve bourbon (recipe follows)
1 oz. Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur
1 ½ oz. apricot purée
½ oz. freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ oz. mint simple syrup (add a handful of mint sprigs to syrup and steep for one hour)
Splash ginger beer Splash cognac
1 lemon slice, for garnish
Sprig of mint, for garnish
Pour first five ingredients over ice in a shaker and shake to combine. Pour into a Collins glass. Top with splashes of ginger beer and cognac. Garnish with lemon slice and mint sprig.
For the infused bourbon: 1 750-ml. bottle Woodford Reserve bourbon
3-4 pods star anise
Place spices in bourbon and let infuse for approximately one week.
For more information on the Charleston Wine + Food Festival, click here.