A Cocktail Recipe With St. Louis Bartender Drew Lucido Of Taste

At the sleek Taste Bar in St. Louis’ Central West End neighborhood, bar manager Drew Lucido juggles between the busy bar, research, and recipe development. His creations focus on classic combinations with modern flare, with evident attention to detail when the chilled coupe lands onto your coaster. Keep reading for our Q&A with the bartender and his recipe for the perfect winter cocktail, Take The Black.

What drew you to the St. Louis bar scene?
I started working in restaurants at age sixteen as a busser. I worked up to barback, and enjoyed the late hours meeting interesting people. I wanted to make more than rum and Cokes, so I looked around to the emerging cocktail scene here and started learning everything I could. I found lots of old cocktail books at garage sales and got busy.

How does your approach fit in at Taste?
I wanted to focus on running a bar where the customer is willing to take risks and be led somewhere. We focus on classic cocktails as well, which allows me to research cocktails: one of the few culinary aspects so deeply rooted in American history.

What has inspired your new cocktail menu this season?
Fall and winter is the time to include more savory notes in cocktails. I’m inspired by the tinctures that Anne Lehmen of Dirty Girl Farms creates. Lately I’m drawn towards dark, herbaceous spirits as well as booze-heavy drinks, for their warming aspects.

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Take The Black, Photo credit: Cynthia Hule

How does your home bar change with the seasons?
As the weather drops, I start leaning towards stirred cocktails, and drinking rum. Right now, I’m into Plantation O.F.T.D. Overproof Rum. I drink it neat, and it’s great on a crisp day.

What liqueur are you most excited about right now?
I’ve been experimenting a lot with Fernet Vallet, a Mexican-made fernet. It has a strong depth of character and spice notes that lend well to fall cocktails.

What do you want to see happen in the St. Louis bar scene this coming year?
I want to do more collaborative work with other bars. There is a lot of talent behind the bar in places that aren’t particularly well known for their drinks. Pop-ups and events are great because they show all the amazing bar talent within our city.

What is your process for creating a new drink?
I usually start with one ingredient and build. Recently, a friend brought in fig jam, and I wanted to work into a drink. I look for similar flavor profiles, study up classic cocktails and test until I reach a balanced drink.

Where did you draw inspiration for Take The Black?
The cocktail I’ve created is based on the crew’s obsession with Game of Thrones. It’s inky black from the Fernet Vallet, and spicy, due to our infused tequila. It’s finished with a flaming orange balancing the dark spices and smokiness of the drink.

Take The Black Recipe
1 oz spicy infused tequila
1 oz Sotol
.75 oz Kina L’Aero
.25 oz Fernet Vallet
5 drops winter savory tincture (Anne Lehman: Dirty Girl Farms)

Fill a large glass with ice, add the spirits and stir. Strain into a coupe glass, and finish with a flaming orange by cutting a coin-size peel of orange and squeezing the peel over a lit match. Rub the peel around the rim of the glass and drop it into the drink.

Cover image photo credit: Taste shot by Tuan Lee

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