COCKTAIL OF THE WEEK: Citrois (Boulevardier)
Boulevardier, in Oak Cliff, boasts a well-established tradition of supplementing its terrific bistro cuisine with a great selection of cocktails, including Eddie Eakin's Steep Buzz - its Maker's Mark version was the official cocktail of Chefs for Farmers 2013 - and its most impressive spin-off, last year's autumn-spiced Buzz-Cat.
The bar at this Bishop Arts mainstay is deceptively small and craftily appointed, and it's always worth checking out the daily mirror special for the staff's latest whims, like this one from bartender Ashley Williams that's now officially on Boulevardier's drink menu.
KEY CHARACTERISTIC: Orange spice
WHAT'S IN IT: Whiskey, dry curaçao, honey, orange acid, Chinese bitters, nutmeg
WHY IT WORKS: This is an orange-n-spice mashup, a mix of bourbon, citrus and cold-weather spices to usher you into spring. What sets this apart is orange acid, orange juice tarted up with citric and malic acid, an ingredient the restaurant usually has on hand. Here it adds acidity and a nice shrub-like tang, negating the need to add lemon or lime to the drink so that the orange flavor can shine through.
Williams wanted to make a whiskey cocktail that wasn't heavy on whiskey; in the Citrois, it serves as the sturdy undercarriage for a drink built like a sour (spirit, sweetener, the acidity of either lemon or lime and sometimes egg white). Instead, Williams began with the orange acid, which she correctly posited would pair well with honey and the cardamom-clove spice of Chinese bitters. After adding a splash of curacao for a boost of booze and even more orange flavor, she kept groovin' on that orange spice riff by topping the drink with orange oils and a shaving of nutmeg. The result: Orange-y goodness with an edge.
The name? It's a blend of citrus and trois, the French word for three. With the French-inspired restaurant's cocktail packing three expressions of orange, it seems tres apropos, non?