Mount Vernon's Sascha's 527 is an elegant but approachable space for enjoying a fine meal and a cocktail, its deep red walls adorned with colorful paintings and a chandelier complementing each other to provide a fun, classy vibe.
Which is probably why I blinked a few times when I glanced over the menu and noted a cocktail featuring two flavors I hadn't seen, or maybe just hadn't thought of, since childhood — grape and lemon. For whatever reason, the images of Kool Aid's lemon and grape Purplesaurus Rex flavor danced in my head. Even if it tasted nothing like that, I knew I had to sample Sascha's Solanum cocktail. Fortunately, it tastes nothing like Kool Aid and is an exceedingly tasty mix of strong flavors.
The Solanum is a bold sipping drink featuring Chopin Vodka, white port (fortified wine) and a blend of muddled grapes with lemon juice, and simple syrup to taste. The concoction that delivers a big punch up front; the stiffness of port and vodka together will bring your mouth to a pause. But as manager Edward Rapp puts it succinctly, "The heat from the port and vodka are tamed by the fruit notes on the back end, and the ice cools the whole thing down nicely."
Couldn't say it better myself. The sweet/tart fruit flavors make the strength of the alcoholic counterparts bearable, while slowing consumption to a sipping level. You'll want to take your time with the Solanum. And given the inviting atmosphere, you certainly wont mind doing so.
How to make the Solanum
1 1/2 oz. Chopin Vodka
1/2 oz. White port wine
1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice
Simple syrup to taste
Muddle the grapes in lemon juice, combine the remaining ingredients and shake, pour over ice.
Where to get the Solanum
Sascha's 527 Cafe
527 N. Charles St., Mount Vernon
Sascha's is closed now through Monday.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun