Three for the Road
Inside a trio of top cocktails at Planter’s House.
THE OPENING OF PLANTER'S HOUSE in Lafayette Square has garnered its fair share of buzz—thanks, in large part, to the undeniably daring cocktail menu. We went behind the bar with co-owner and bar manager Ted Kilgore for the backstory on three of the cocktails on his menu that have helped create such a fanfare.
Dutchtown Collins The idea for the flavors in this long drink came on a trip to NOLA, where Kilgore had a dish called Peach and Pepper at the restaurant Maurepas. Back in St. Louis, he set out to create a shrub—a mix of vinegar, sugar and fruit—as a starting point for a new cocktail. “I decided to use local nectarines in place of peaches,” Kilgore explains. “To amp up the flavor, I added Bols Genever for a note of malty-ness.” A bit of black pepper simple syrup gives it the requisite spice. The name is an homage to the Dutchtown neighborhood, as well as to Bols’ origin in Holland.
Voisey of Reason Kilgore created this subtle concoction as a tribute to his good friend Charlotte Voisey, brand ambassador for Hendrick’s Gin and William Grant & Sons. He wanted to exclusively use spirits from the William Grant portfolio, ultimately deciding to build the drink on a base of Hendrick’s.
“I wanted something that was Hendrick’s-driven and inspired by some of the botanicals that Hendrick’s has,” Kilgore says, especially one of his favorites, chamomile. To do this, he incorporated a house-made chamomile cucumber liqueur, as well as Balvenie Doublewood Scotch, with its inherent honey and floral notes. The drink is rounded out with Lillet Rose, fresh lemon juice and an egg white. The result, says Kilgore, “is quite feminine and blonde like Charlotte. A success, I think.
“Working Title This was one of the last drinks to make the Planter’s list. “I was under the gun to get the menu finished and needed a light alcohol drink for the aperitif section,” Kilgore explains. “I really wanted to highlight the new-to-the-market Contrato Bianco vermouth, and I love the flavor of Earl Grey in drinks.” So he whipped up an Earl Grey liqueur, paired it with the Contrato, then augmented the mix with grapefruit bitters and topped it with bubbly. According to Kilgore, “The Earl Grey liquor gives the vermouth a great backdrop to play on.” And as far as the name? “I went with ‘Working Title’ because I couldn’t think of another name in time for opening.”
Photo credit: Christopher Gibbons