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Drink This Weekend Edition: Legendary libations at Araka

April 22nd 03:04pm, 2011

042211_dtwe2Even if you’re down to the last $20 in your wallet, entering into the sophisticated space at Araka in Clayton can make you feel like you’re rolling with rock stars. This spring, bar manager Tim Kosuge has extended that celebrity-like sensation to the brand new drink menu, complete with a slate of original cocktails named after historical legends.

The Secretariat, a nod to the famous racehorse who Kosuge recalled “everyone thought too pretty to be a winner,” is a nice grapefruit-forward variation of a mint julep and a bestseller on the spring menu.

The Benevolus, which features a house-made rhubarb juice reduction, Ransom Old Tom Gin and Madeira wine, is a play on a Negroni, with bitter rhubarb juice subbing for Campari and the fortified wine taking the place of sweet vermouth.

When Kosuge combined Hendrick’s Gin with St. Germain Elderflower and Green Chartreuse liqueurs, he wanted a name that expressed the union of French and Scottish spirits. A bit of historical digging revealed that the first known alliance between France and Scotland existed under the rule of Charlemagne, who lends his name to Kosuge’s lovely tall drink that also calls for fresh cucumber, lime juice and a topping of seltzer water.

Kosuge’s The Sparrow (pictured) is a rum drink he named after Jack Sparrow, the quippable protagonist from the Pirates of the Caribbean film series. The juices of fresh pineapple and lemon, dark rum, Licor 43 and a splash each of sambuca and agave nectar make this a stellar patio sipper.

Who’s your hero? Good guy? Bad guy? Entrepreneur? Dark horse? No matter who you root for, you can sip like a star with these winning libations.

By Ligaya Figueras

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