February for many is the month of love. Not for me. It’s not that I’m against love; I mean, it’s fine and all. I just really hate Valentine’s Day. Admit it; you do too. Like me, you know there are no winners. If you’re single, it’s a reminder that you should feel lonely and insufficient because you’re not coupled up. If you are coupled up, you can’t win. The $200 you splurged on dinner cannot compare to the diamond tennis bracelet that Karen from HR got from her significant other. And Karen wonders why she and her significant other didn’t go out to dinner. #nowinning.
I’m always looking for new and exciting ways to celebrate my hatred of Valentine’s Day, and no celebration is complete without a cocktail. This year I decided to hit my favorite East Greenwich haunt: Rasa, an Indian restaurant known for its incredible cuisine and warm atmosphere. What few realize, however, is that Rasa is home to some of Main Street’s best bartenders. They’re always friendly and mix up creative concoctions that use the same herbs and spices they feature in their dishes. I decided to see if they were up for the challenge to create my anti-Valentine’s Day cocktail.
I headed to Rasa on a quiet Sunday night and was greeted by Ethan, the bartender on duty. Hearing the name “Ethan” gave me a craving for bourbon, as I’d just sampled some Ethan Craig bourbon at friend’s house a few nights prior. I normally don’t love bourbon unless it’s accompanied with bacon and/or maple syrup, but this barrel was spectacular: super smooth with undertones of hazelnut and caramel that warm you from the inside out.
I told Ethan I was looking for a drink with bourbon or whiskey that celebrated hate. He raised his eyebrows, so I explained the anti-Valentine’s Day thing. “It can’t be anything pink or bubbly. It should be something dark and deep, and not too sweet.”
“Oh,” he responded, “you mean something more manly. I mean, I do think of Valentine’s Day as a holiday that’s more for women.” The feminist in me wanted to decry this statement, but I can’t. While I know plenty of women who love bourbon and hate Valentine’s Day, I don’t know many men who are excited when they see February 14 coming up on the calendar. Please feel free to challenge my blatant stereotyping.
Okay back to the drink. Ethan decided to do a take on a whiskey sour, and the result was a perfect blend of tart and sweet that allowed the flavor of the bourbon to continue to shine, yet with a unique twist from a dash of turmeric simple syrup. He’s calling it a Self Love Sour and it’s not on the menu, but it’s now in his repertoire so feel free to ask for one, even if you’re not soured on Valentine’s Day.
1.5 ounces of Maker’s Mark Bourbon
.25 ounces of Cherry Heering Liqueur
.25 ounces of house-made turmeric simple syrup (since this was pre-made, Ethan couldn’t tell me exactly what was in it, but his best guess was a classic simple syrup – equal parts sugar and water – boiled down with turmeric and possibly some garam masala).
.75 ounces of lemon juice