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
507 S. Exeter St., Harbor East (Bagby Building)
$10.50 full cocktail/$3 in flightCopyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun