Drink This Now: Deez Nuts at the Phoenix Jazz Club

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Last week, the Phoenix Jazz Club launched its new fall drink menu — the first under the direction of bar manager Rachel Freeman, who took over the position in May (Freeman had previously been at Cleaver & Cork). Knowing Freeman’s love for brown spirits and spices, I was pretty excited to see what the season had inspired in her cocktails. And so, pumpkin spice latte firmly in hand, I skipped downtown to visit her at her bar. 

Freeman’s first recommendation was a rum and walnut liqueur Old Fashioned. This drink, shaken and strained into a double-rocks glass with a long orange peel, has a dark garnet-colored liquid.

“This is Plantation 5-Year Rum with Nux Alpina walnut liqueur,” Freeman tells me, “and then a little bit of Catdaddy Carolina Moonshine, which I think is usually too much on its own, but I like the way it mixes for fall drinks. I’m also doing a blend of Aztec chocolate bitters, chocolate cherry bark bitters and angostura bitters.”

Freeman calls this drink Deez Nuts, because she can’t help herself, apparently. It’s rather a lowbrow name for a drink that is all class: The aromas rising out of this glass are luxurious and rich, and the taste is sweetly nutty and deep. This is a true fall cocktail — the kind of thing that makes me want to park it in front of my hypothetical fireplace with my hypothetical Dalmatians while my hypothetical butler makes fancy s’mores. (That’s fall for everyone else, right?) 

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Next, Freeman makes up a curried Manhattan — what her menu lists as From LaGuardia to Indira Ghandi International.

“I made a dry curry — it consists of about 15 herbs and spices, with whole cloves, peppercorns, nutmeg, cinnamon, a bunch of stuff,” Freeman says. “I make it at home, and I thought about using it with rye whiskey. So I take the herbs and spices and let them steep in a bottle of vermouth — I use Dolin Rouge — for a couple days, and then I sift it out. I’m just mixing that with Four Roses Yellow Label and Peychaud bitters.”

Freeman serves this drink up in a coupe glass, garnished with a flamed orange peel. It’s a sophisticated, well-balanced riff on the classic Manhattan. Freeman’s curry comes through proudly without adding too many savory elements to the drink: Instead, her spices play with the heat of the rye for a warming, medium-sweet sip. Oh, the joys that fall brings. 

See also
Cleaver & Cork’s Rachel Freeman updates the old fashioned for Bacon & Bourbon
Bartender’s Notebook: At Cleaver & Cork, Andrew Olsen and Rachel Freeman are swimming in bourbon
Drink This Now: Revive ’85 and the Blackbird at Ça Va 
Drink This Now: the Cobbler’s Daughter and Spanish Harlem at República
Drink This Now: the Fire & Ice at Char Bar 
Drink This Now: Cafe Port Fonda at Port Fonda

Categories: Music