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Drink This Tonight: The Honeysuckle at FIG

Brooks Reitz introduces refreshing cocktails

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You might have met Brooks Reitz already. He's the friendly new manager over at FIG, taking over some responsibilities from co-owner Adam Nemirow, who's been managing the front of the house operations solo for years.

Reitz has been on duty for a few months, putting his focus on the bar and beverage operations, revamping the cocktail menu and creating daily drink specials. As Nemirow is more of a wine guy, Reitz was tapped for his mixology background. He comes to FIG by way of Proof on Main, a restaurant and bar in Louisville, Ky., that is known for its exceptional wine and spirits program. Reitz's mixed drink philosophy closely mirrors Nemirow's approach to wine and Chef Mike Lata's approach to food: seasonally inspired with a focus on artisanship.

The cocktail menu has classic drinks like the Sazerac (Old Overholt Rye, Peychaud's Bitters, sugar, Pernod Absinthe) and the Hemingway Martini (Bacardi White Rum, lime, grapefruit, Luxardo maraschino liqueur) in addition to some of Reitz's own creations like Wild Boar Punch (Four Roses Small-Batch Bourbon, ginger liqueur, lemon, Blenheim's, bitters) and the Honeysuckle (Pisco Capel, elderflower, lime, grapefruit, orange blossom water). A signature feature of the menu is the use of small-batch liquors that have complex flavors. Don't expect super sweet, syrupy drinks here.

If you had to pick one, we'd recommend the Honeysuckle. It's the perfect drink for summer with a refreshing tartness and alluring hint of sweetness. The drink starts with Pisco Capel, a white grape liqueur from South America that provides a delicate bouquet. Add to that some St. Germain, a fragrant French liqueur made from handpicked elderflower blossoms. Blast it with some lime and grapefruit and then mellow it all out with a dash of orange blossom water. The resulting beverage actually smells like honeysuckle, conjuring up the sultry South without any need for sugar.

Sit at the bar and order something light like the heavenly heirloom tomato salad, and Reitz and the team at FIG will be happy to pair a mixed drink with it.

We tried the Intro to Aperol, a concoction that highlights Aperol, an Italian liqueur that's much less bitter than Campari and made with rhubarb. Reitz will also introduce you to Lillet Blanc, a white wine aperitif, and turn you on to his favorite cocktail, the Corpse Reviver No. 2 (Bombay Sapphire, Cointreau, Lillet Blanc, lemon). And if you ask really nicely, he might just make you a bourbon milkshake, a ridiculously tasty and ice-cold milky froth with a shot of bourbon. On second thought, that milkshake may be the perfect drink for a hot summer.

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