By Alison Bailin Batz / Photo by Debby Wolvos
All of the cocktails at The Sicilian Butcher, a butchery-inspired eatery that opened late last year, have two things in common: Each is based on a classic, and each has an Italian or Sicilian twist.
The Grazie ($10), for example, is inspired by the gin sour, which is known for its froth and herbaceous, yet refreshing, flavor.
The Sicilian Butcher’s recipe starts by making a puree from fresh strawberries and sugar then adding Italian red wine and reducing the mixture for 25 minutes.
“We use nero d’avola wine, a grape directly from southern Italy and Sicily that tastes much like a New World shiraz with sweet tannins and plum, peppery flavors,” says mixologist Sheldon Wiley.
The reduction is then combined with gin in a shaker.
“When we can, we use a Sicilian gin, but most respected brands have the herbal notes needed to balance the sweetness in the reduction,” says Wiley, who also includes fresh lemon juice for acidity before adding in a secret ingredient – aquafaba.
“Aquafaba is chickpea brine and used as a vegan substitute for egg whites,” Wiley says. “Like with egg whites, we add it to the shaker and dry shake vigorously, then add ice and shake again, which gives us the froth.”
The contents are strained and poured into a snifter glass and then garnished with shaved cinnamon and a sprig of mint.
“Seventy percent of what we taste comes from what we smell, so these agents work to bring out the sweetness, bitterness and freshness of the cocktail on the nose,” Wiley says.
The Sicilian Butcher, 15530 N. Tatum Blvd., Phoenix; 602.775.5140; www.thesicilianbutcher.com.