The Duchess features lavender-infused vodka.

The Duchess features lavender-infused vodka. (Kenneth K. Lam, Baltimore Sun / February 2, 2012)

With cocktails named African Nectar, Mayan Chocolate and The Crotchless (yes, really), hip Harbor East spot Vino Rosina wants you to know it's more than "just a wine bar."

In fact, general manager Joshua Barbour has set his sights much higher: "We've kicked [the drink menu] up a notch this year. We're rotating in homemade, seasonal vodka infusions that use fresh fruits and herbs. And customers can now taste any four infusion martinis together as a flight, for $12." Decisions, decisions.

The infusion trend is not new. But Vino sets itself apart with creative ingredients. My favorite? The delicate, delicious lavender-infused vodka used to make The Duchess. The cocktail smells as floral as it tastes. Prairie organic vodka and St. Germain — an elderflower liqueur — mix to create a clean, honey-flower flavor. Peychaud's bitters expand the aromatic quality, while fresh squeezed lemon adds a citrus bite. A splash of Moscato, the cocktail's real anchor, finishes the drink.

The result is playful and surprisingly full-bodied. Ladylike, yes? Light on libations? No. This lady packs a punch.

"Think of it as a feminine substitute for a Manhattan. You'll still need to sip on this one a little longer," advises the Duchess' creator, dining room manager Tina Parthemos.

Stay classy with The Duchess … and then maybe move on to something more sassy like The Crotchless. For the price, you deserve to be a little of both.

How to make The Duchess

2 parts lavender-infused vodka (Prairie organic, preferably)

1 part St. Germain

Dash of Peychaud's bitters

Splash of Moscato D'Asti

1 fresh squeezed lemon

Shake all ingredients, strain into an iced martini glass. Top with Moscato and enjoy.

Where to get The Duchess

Vino Rosina

507 S. Exeter St., Harbor East (Bagby Building)

410-528-8600

vinorosina.com

$10.50 full cocktail/$3 in flight