By Meekah Hopkins
3:36 PM EST, January 22, 2013
Hairdresser on Fire. You see that on Fleet Street Kitchen's craft cocktail menu and you're immediately intrigued. That's not a question. So you continue on to the ingredients.
Mezcal? Smoky and potent. Check. Campari? Classic bitters — this is going to be strong. You're in. Sherry … sherry? Wait, what?
Apologies in advance to chefs and old ladies, but sherry, to me, is a cooking ingredient at best … or maybe something my grandma would take a nip of on special occasions. Why would I drink that? Isn't it just really dusty, old wine? Apparently, I'm so wrong. And so far behind the trend, according to Fleet Street's beverage manager, Tim Riley.
In London, sherry bars have been the rage for at least a decade. Sherry has begun to flood into foodie towns stateside — Boston, Portland, Ore., and San Francisco. And last year, New York held the first ever Sherryfest for sommeliers and winos alike.
So what exactly IS sherry, then? It's a fortified Spanish wine made from white grapes. It comes in various styles that range from nutty to creamy.
In Baltimore, Fleet Street Kitchen is a part of the resurgence. Riley said the Hairdresser on Fire is the restaurant's third sherry cocktail since opening last year. He finds that its taste works especially well during winter, a hard season for the fresh, local ingredients Fleet Street Kitchen's artisanal cocktails are known for.
Mezcal, a roasted agave liquor similar to tequila, and sherry might sound like an odd pairing, but Hairdresser on Fire marries the savory sweet qualities of Lustau East India Solera sherry with the citrus and smoke of Sombra mezcal. Campari, the Italian herbal wine used as a bitters, mitigates the mezcal and the sherry, keeping them in check. Lemon juice rounds out the complexity of the drink with a touch of sour. Truly, every taste bud is covered here.
And that name? Think: complicated drink, misunderstood ingredients and you get: the famously maudlin front man for the Smiths. "It's a Morrissey song, meant to represent the intensity of the drink — mezcal and Campari aren't for the novice drinker." In other words, Fleet Street Kitchen wants you to know they're not messing around.
How to Make the Hairdresser on Fire
1 oz. Sombra mezcal
1 1/2 oz. Lustau East India Solera sherry
1 oz. Campari
1 oz. lemon juice
1 tsp. Demerara syrup
Chill a cocktail glass by placing it in the freezer, or let it sit filled with ice water for several minutes. Add mezcal, sherry, Campari and lemon juice to a cocktail shaker. Shake hard and strain into the chilled cocktail glass. Cut a lime twist and express its oils over the drink. Discard the twist and serve.
Where to Get the Hairdresser on Fire
Fleet Street Kitchen
1012 Fleet St., Harbor East
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