Drink This Now: 3975 at Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar

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I curl my hands around the 3975 at Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar, attempting to gauge the temperature of the cocktail so as not to singe my tongue on the first taste. The glass is hot — very hot. Kenny Cohrs, Jax’s bar manager and the co-founder of the cocktail consulting company Liquid Minded Concepts, suggests that I give his creation a moment.

The 3975 is an adult hot chocolate, he tells me, containing a housemade habanero cordial, pineapple syrup, coconut milk, Aztec chocolate (a blend he has concocted) and Del Maguey Crema de Mezcal (mezcal that has been blended with agave syrup, Cohrs explains). He has garnished his drink with a brûleéd, housemade marshmallow. It looks like a sophisticated cup of Christmas cheer.  

“I blend the Aztec chocolates and coconut milk to create the hot chocolate, and then I add all the remaining ingredients and heat the drink to order,” Cohrs says. “I don’t ever really taste the pineapple notes in there, but I think it needs that little hint of acidity to balance it out.”

The name of the drink, 3975, is a nod to the miles between Honolulu and Oaxaca (where mezcal is produced). Cohrs admits another influence far closer to Jax: the (nonalcoholic) Aztec hot chocolate popular at State Line Road coffeehouse Hi Hat.  
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“Really, I just liked the idea of pairing some of the flavors of Mexico and Hawaii together, and I was thinking about cold-weather cocktails,” Cohrs tells me. “Being in the middle of winter and thinking, ‘If I wanted to get somewhere warm, where would I go?’ Either location sounded great to me. So I wanted a cocktail that would sort of take me to either place, just for a moment.” 

It took Cohrs several batches of hot chocolate to arrive at just the right 3975 recipe. At my first not-too-hot sip, I taste the happy results of all that tinkering. Almost instantly I find myself wanting to sing carols and wrap presents. There’s something about the spices and the smokiness and the burnt and gooey marshmallow that summons to the imagination a symphonic rendition of “Joy to the World.”

The 3975 has all the markings of a well-balanced hot chocolate, and were it not for the grown-up addition of the mezcal, I would be tempted to give it an all-ages endorsement. Anyway, for the few moments that this drink lasts in your hands, Cohrs accomplishes his mission: The 3975 plays out like a liquid vacation.

3975 
2 ounces Aztec chocolate (Cohrs uses coconut milk and his proprietary blend of Askinosie, Annedore’s and Abuelita’s chocolate; at home, you can use your favorite hot chocolate blend)
1 ounce Del Maguey Crema de Mezcal
1/2 ounce pineapple syrup
1/2 ounce habanero cordial

See also
Bartender’s Notebook: Bar Rosso’s Kenny Cohrs showcases the versatility of Aperol
Kenny Cohrs gives us a preview of his Bacon & Bourbon cocktail
Sampling Jax’s wine and cocktails 
Drink This Now: the Ian Fleming at Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar
Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar finally made an oyster eater out of me 
Rick Compton, general manager at Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar, talks adding cicerone to his resume and bulking up his beer list

Categories: Music