There’s no denying the humble carrot is a symbol of fall. Every autumn we pull them up, eat them plain or dipped in hummus, stir their orange rounds into warming soups or steam them as a side dish for Thanksgiving or Christmas.
But shake carrot booze into a cocktail with caraway syrup? That’s a new use for the sweet root vegetable and its aromatic sidekick. And it’s just the kind of seasonal and creative, but simplicity-driven, experimentation that’s become a hallmark of Charcut Roast House, where chefs and co-owners Connie DeSousa and John Jackson have been cooking with local ingredients served in ways that often challenge convention for the past seven years.
Charcut’s head bartender, Wyatt Sutherland, extends that food philosophy to the drink list. He believes in cocktails that are simple (they have few ingredients) but not basic (they go beyond the classics), and use quality spirits, liqueurs, juices and syrups. His idea of a winning libation is one that has multiple layers of flavour, but doesn’t involve a “dog and pony show” behind the bar.
Sutherland’s Carried Away cocktail is a delicious example of a drink that’s easy to make, uses known flavours in an unusual way, and makes customers curious about what, exactly, is in it (and likely to order another one, which is the ultimate sign of a good cocktail).
Carried Away takes a carrot-based distilled spirit from Austria and shakes it with mezcal, fresh lime juice and simple syrup made with sugar, water and caraway seeds. The drink’s simple garnish is a salt-and-ground-caraway rim, whose herbal aroma draws you in for a sip. You get a smoky hit from the mezcal up front, followed by a balance of sweet carrot, tart lime and savoury caraway. As Sutherland sums up: “It’s roasted carrots in margarita form.”
It’s weirdly wonderful.
Though Charcut’s drinks are great on their own, the restaurant understands that people come in the door to eat, so the entire beverage program is built around collaboration with the kitchen. “The cocktails are meant to be enjoyed with the food,” says general manager Jynnifer Gibson.
As such, Carried Away is a lovely liquid accompaniment to the duck-fat fried poutine, or the charred octopus with sausage, tomatoes, white beans and chili oil.
“People liking what I’m making brings me joy,” says Sutherland. And it goes both ways: you’re going to love the joy he brings to the cocktails, too. Who knows? You just might get carried away and order a second round.
How to make Charcut’s Carried Away
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