Features on StarChefs.com

By Erin Hollingsworth
January 2007

Here’s a romantic idea: alcohol decreases inhibitions and increases spending habits. What’s more, the tastier and more impressive the drink, the larger the profit margins and the more the guest will drink. So, for this year’s Valentine’s Day, fall in love with the Viagra of the bottom-line – sexy cocktails. » more

Bar Chef Junior Merino of The Liquid Chef New York, NY

Coming Up Roses
» Rising Star
» Samba-Tini
» Gemini
» Piņa Partida
» Chocolate and Berries
» Wonderful Heart


American cocktails have progressed immeasurability from their predictably pragmatic roots. Said to have come to popularity during the Prohibition era, the original rise of the American cocktail, most notably present in New Orleans, was born from a desire to mask the less-than-desirable taste of bootlegged liquor. By adding a little fresh juice, stand-by bitters, muddled herbs or sugar, the too-strong, not-good moonshine became quaffable, and how they did quaff.

More recently, the cocktail has become an incontrovertible joke, a vehicle for sorority girls and their would-be sorority girl mothers to get drunk on boozy, fruity hangover machines. Frat boys didn’t complain.

That is until now. A resurgence of classic, simple cocktails has mitigated the sugary, triple sec-laden cocktail of yesteryear, and with legal, easy to buy alcohol that actually tastes great, the classics are better than ever. But, as the American palette has become more sophisticated, already hooked on the cocktail concept, former sex on the beach drinkers yield to now ubiquitous Maker’s Manhattans.

Bar Chef Junior Merino’s romantic cocktails are perfect for the current cocktail milieu, a balance of classic concepts, crowd-pleasing flavor profiles, and “what’s in that” intrigue. In “Coming Up Roses,” for instance, Merino layers rose water with rose syrup and muddled rose petals, for a depth and intensity of flavor more often associated with, frankly, food. Chefs know that layering celery with celery root, celery seed and celery leaves adds a saturation of flavor, a nuance to that flavor and effectually captures the essence of that flavor. Merino captures the essence of the rose in name, ingredient and flavor, making “Coming Up Roses” the quintessential romantic cocktail; and his other love potions aren’t half-bad either.



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