In the second installment of our summer cocktails series, Chef de Bar and mixologist, Gates Otsuji, shares the story behind our new favorite at Top of The Standard: the Henry & June.
"We hadn’t done a fresh strawberry cocktail for a while, and I wanted to take advantage of the peak season for strawberries by going all-out on the flavor for this drink. The base spirit is Leblon Reserva Especial, which is an aged cachaça with wonderful caramel and vanilla notes, both of which compliment the strawberries that are freshly muddled into the shaker with basil and lime juice. But going all-out means really developing it, so the lime and basil flavors are layered with kaffir lime leaves and more basil leaves infused into the cachaça, and then a touch of smoked cassia bark tincture (think velvety cinnamon) to add some depth to the strawberries."
"In the end, you get a drink that’s even more juicy than you thought a strawberry drink could be, with nothing artificial about it."
"The drink is named after “Henry and June,” a notorious piece of erotica written by Anais Nin about her simultaneous, but separate, affairs with author Henry Miller and his wife, June. The book details the affairs and Nin’s sexual and emotional explorations; Nin views June as the most mesmerizing woman she’s ever encountered. This drink is meant to embody that kind of allure and desire–flavors passionately expressed and taken to extremes in the most irresistible way."