THE BESPOKE COCKTAIL: INDIAN SUMMER

text VI NGUYEN
photo RACHEL MANY

When it comes to cocktails, Talmadge Lowe is all about what we’d like to phrase, “classic ingenuity.” A seemingly paradoxical term, Talmadge’s concoctions are a nod to mid-century cocktail culture, channeling the elegance and sophistication of the time, while incorporating unique ingredients like fennel and black walnut bitters, or grated nutmeg. A former actor, Lowe’s culinary chops were developed in the bowels of struggling-actor-dom, having worked almost every job in the restaurant business, he eventually ended up in catering.

Harnessing the dread of rubber chicken dinners and uninspiring cocktails alike, Lowe decided to venture into conceiving his own creations, laying the foundation for what would become Pharmacie—a roving, underground speakeasy of sorts that has now evolved into a bespoke cocktail catering service.

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At the center of it all are lovingly crafted libations. You won’t find superfluous flavored spirits (“What on earth is buttered popcorn vodka?” laughs Tal). Instead, you’ll find homemade syrups and shrubs, and a menu of cocktails put together with strategic dexterity. After a consultation with his clients, Lowe goes back home and prepares. Beyond the taste of the drink itself, style and aesthetic play a critical role in all his productions, down to the glassware used, the uniforms of staff, the color and vibrance of the cocktail, and even the name of the libation itself, which, in Lowe’s eyes, should elicit a gastronomically inquisitive reaction.

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Which brings us to our featured drink: Indian Summer. A smoky mezcal is complemented by the herbal aroma of Yellow Chartreuse. Homemade honey syrup mellows the drink with rich sweet notes, while lime balances the drink with some necessary acidity. Finally, says Lowe, “dashes of Angostura bitters give it a little pop and depth, like a little firecracker.” The result? A supremely refreshing drink we wouldn’t mind extending our hazy summer for.

TAL’S RECIPE
2 ct. Mezcal
1 ct. Honey Syrup*
1.5 ct. Yellow Chartreuse
1 ct. Lime
2 Dashes of Angostura Bitters (dash into drink before you shake and pour into glass)
1 Lime Wheel Garnish
Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker over ice and shake vigorously. Then strain into a glass. Add garnish.
*To make the honey syrup add water (8 oz.) and honey (8 oz.) and heat together until the honey thins out.
Always let cool to room temperature before using. Refrigerating overnight is strongly recommended.

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