Drink This Now: Fatboy Sling at the Rieger Hotel Grill & Exchange

Just because the weather lately hasn’t been all that patio-friendly doesn’t mean my interest in patio-pounders has diminished. I know I’m not alone in this. A recent stop at the Rieger Hotel Grill & Exchange found several tempting, summer-inspired drinks on the seasonal cocktail menu. One drink — the Fatboy Sling — combines two of my favorite things, rosé wine and Aperol, and something else I couldn’t pronounce: Combier Pamplemousse. 

“Pamplemousse is French for grapefruit,” Brock Schulte, the Rieger’s bar manager, tells me. “It’s a grapefruit liqueur from Combier Liquers. We thought it would be cool in a Negroni-style riff. I used Aperol instead of Campari, because that flavor would jell a little more with the rosé and the pamplemousse.”

Behind the bar, Derek Branham begins to prepare this drink — which entails him filling a Collins glass with ice cubes and a straw and popping the cap off a bottle filled with a bright pink liquid. The labor of this cocktail, Schulte tells me, happens pre-shift. 

“It’s as easy as homebrewers bottling their own beer,” Schulte says, “but the trick is in getting the carbonation level right, and bottling it before the carbonation leaves.”

The bottled cocktails are relatively new to the Rieger, though Schulte says he has been offering a full bottled-cocktail program at the Drum Room downtown, where he also sets the drink menu, for over a year.

“But it’s not technically a new thing,” Schulte says. “Locally, I believe it was Arturo [Vera-Felicie, head bartender at Justus Drugstore] that started doing the first bottled cocktails. But the technique has plenty of history, going back to before the 1900s. Ben Franklin has a bottled cocktail recipe.”  

The Fatboy Sling is everything that Schulte promised it would be: refreshing, light and utterly poundable. It’s gone far too quickly — which, I think, is entirely the point.  

See also:
Bartender’s Notebook: Arturo Vera-Felicie brings his lab-ready wizardry to Justus Drugstore
Brock Schulte takes over the bar program at the Rieger Hotel Grill & Exchange
Drink This Now: Maibowle at Affäre

Drink This Now: The Pirate’s Booty at Local Pig – Westport 
Drink This Now: Blood Orange Ginger Fizz at Thou Mayest
Drink This Now: Melon Margarita at 715 Restaurant 

Categories: Music