by Paloma Ianes
Posted In: Alcohol
at 02:23 PM | Permalink
A Tavola's Aaron Strasser shares his favorite cocktails
A Tavola has
made its mark on Over-The-Rhine with its rustic wood fired pizzas and superb
flavor combinations. What you might not know about the high-end pizza joint is
that its craft cocktails are one-of-a-kind. CityBeat
sat down with A Tavola’s head bartender Aaron Strasser to pick his brain, and
it turns out he is as personable as he is creative and stirs up one hell of a
CityBeat: How did your career in bartending
Strasser: I was a
history major at UC, and my favorite period of time was Prohibition. I found it
very interesting that you could ban one of the greatest things in the world —
the cocktail. I really got into studying that when I was in college. I also
started flavor profiles. I grew up in the kitchen with my mom and she always
baking stuff and I loved tasting all the flavors and figuring out, ‘Oh, you can
pair this with this.’ I got my start here at A Tavola almost four years ago. I
didn't know much, but what I did know is flavor profiles and combinations. So
the owners gave me a chance and allowed me to make the bar what it is now.
CB: What’s your favorite spirit?
AS: I usually go with my whiskeys and
bourbon. Rye whiskey for sure.
CB: What’s the strangest
ingredient you’ve used in a cocktail?
AS: I have a couple. I always saw that
simple syrups were being made with fruits and some herbs and spices, but I
wanted to make a simple syrup out of a vegetable, so I made a red beet and
ginger simple syrup, which goes great with gin. It’s very unique, it’s a
beautiful color and the taste was very interesting. I didn't want to just use
fruit. Another strange ingredient in our new cocktail menu is the jalapeño jam
instead of a simple syrup. It’s a recipe that one of my kitchen people and I
have worked on. I wanted to have something that was sweet and savory. We do a
lot of that as far as combinations go — even in our food — lots of sweet and
CB: Do you see a change in
cocktail culture around OTR?
AS: Oh, yeah, its definitely growing.
There is a lot more appreciation as far as drinks go. A lot of people are not
just ordering cocktails that they know, instead they are actually looking at
the cocktails and asking, ‘What does this place have to offer that I haven’t
CB: If you had to pick one
cocktail to drink for the rest of your life what would it be?
AS: An Old Fashioned.
cherries1 slice of
orange1 sugar cube1 or 2 dashes of
Angostura bitters2 oz. rye or
bourbon whiskeyClub soda
Place the sugar
cube in a glass and add one or two dashes of Angostura bitters and a splash of
club soda. Muddle the the sugar cube. Add whiskey and ice. Stir until sugar is
dissolved. With a lighter, singe a strip of orange peel and pinch the peel to
release oils. Add the orange peel and the Amarena cherries to top it all off.
0 Comments · Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Why would Maker’s
announce that they were reducing the percentage of alcohol in their
bourbon from 45 percent to 42 percent (90 proof to 84 proof), cause an
uproar and then reverse the decision within days?
CityBeat convenes a bourbon tasting panel
0 Comments · Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Tom Waits, George Thorogood, Charles Bukowski, Mike Figgis, Ray Carver and even W.C. Fields have portrayed bourbon as the “binge drinker’s best friend.” But store shelves are now packed with small-batch, artisanal American whiskies — selling at prices that rival the best single malt scotches and finest cognacs.