Clint Sloan, the sommelier at Husk, is known for organizing his wine list by soil type and terroir, rather than by grape varietal or region, because he believes it tells you more about the flavors in the bottle. It comes as no surprise, then, that his approach to cocktails is as deeply nuanced. His Bobsled—a sophisticated riff on the Cosmopolitan, with pomegranate replacing the cranberry and bourbon sitting in for the vodka—”has that whole caramel-vanilla thing going on,” he says, “so you want a bourbon aged in American oak. It has a wider grain, so there’s more contact and more wood flavor.”
Sloan prefers Booker’s, which has a caramelized, slightly honeyed flavor that perfectly complements chef Sean Brock’s lamb ribs in a ras el hanout and honey glaze. Ras el hanout is a classic Moroccan spice blend, but once again Sloan looks beyond the obvious labels. “Ras el hanout has really sweet Christmas flavors,” he says. “Clove and cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, peppercorn. Big spices. Deep, rich, dark flavors.” And with two deep, rich, dark bourbon cocktails to match.
TWIG & BERRIES
3 oz. Buffalo Trace bourbon
11/2 oz. cranberry juice
1/2 oz. sweet vermouth
1 sprig fresh rosemary
Add the bourbon, cranberry juice, vermouth, and two raspberries to a cocktail shaker, and muddle the raspberries. Shake over ice and strain into a martini glass. Thread two raspberries onto the center of the rosemary sprig and rest the sprig against the rim of the glass to garnish. Use the sprig as a cocktail stirrer.
3 oz. Booker’s bourbon
11/2 oz. Pama pomegranate liqueur
1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice
Pour the bourbon, liqueur, and lemon juice into a cocktail shaker. Shake over ice and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a strip of lemon peel floating in the glass.
CRISPY LAMB RIBS WITH RAS EL HANOUT HONEY GLAZE
2 lbs. lamb ribs
2 c. honey
2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
2 tbsp. ras el hanout spice blend
1 tbsp. turmeric
Salt and pepper to taste
Lightly toasted pine nuts
Heat oven to 160 degrees. Place the ribs on a rack and slow-roast for 12 hours. Shortly before they are done, mix together the honey, mustard, ras el hanout, and turmeric in a large bowl. Remove the ribs from the oven and cut them into individual pieces. Toss the ribs in the honey mixture to glaze. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, piment d’Espelette, and pine nuts. Serves 4 to 6 as an appetizer or snack.