Herb simple syrup is secret to Platypus cocktail | Food and cooking

Herb simple syrup is secret to Platypus cocktail | Food and cooking

Q • I would like to request a recipe for a summer craft cocktail from Platypus in the Grove. Their menu changes with the seasons. What drink can I make that is different, new and tastes of summer? Jen Hinkl — Princeton Heights

A • Inventive mixologists and co-owners Meredith Barry and Tony Saputo of Platypus developed the Jalisco Fields Forever summer cocktail especially to answer this request. Their fun, unusual craft cocktail bar opened last November in the former Urban Research Brewery space at 4501 Manchester in the Grove. The spirit of discovery and research still lives there. It drives the duo and their team to push boundaries and explore new ideas of what cocktails can be.

Platypus' Jalisco Fields Forever Cocktail

“Jalisco Fields” refers to the fields of agave that thrive in that Mexican state. Agave is essential for the production of both tequila and mezcal. In this recipe, Barry mixes two types of mezcal, corn liquor, a house-made basil-sage simple syrup and citrus to make a cocktail perfect for hot summer days at the pool or nights around the firepit.

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“It’s fun to play with everything that’s coming forward in the farmers’markets We’re getting fruits and vegetables that actually taste like fruit and vegetables,” she says. “I like to walk around and get inspired at Tower Grove Farmers Market.” Her inspirations translate to making unusual simple syrups with herbs and spices or finding the atypical garnish that sets off a drink particularly well.

“We’ve been messing with around with different simple syrups, using herbs that are easier to get a hold of like basil, sage and cilantro,” Saputo says. The simple syrup for today’s recipe uses basil and sage, both of which are plentiful now at markets. Any variety of sage or basil will do for the syrup or the garnish, but the opal and purple basils deliver a nice color counterpoint to this drink in the garnish.

“There’s a lot of different varieties of oregano that are fun to use. Playing with all these things that are just popping up — lemon thyme, chocolate mint, orange mint, pineapple sage — are all really incredible additions for cocktails,” Barry says.

Barry chose the specific spirits in this recipe to achieve the balance she envisioned for the drink. We list the places in the recipe notes where you can find them, but please, experiment. Barry and Saputo would approve.

“Everyone who works here contributes to developing drinks. Our drink menu is curated by Meredith and me,” Saputo says. “There’s nothing on our drink board we haven’t touched, but at the same time we’re here to push our people along.”

“To guide them,” Barry says. “When I started in hospitality, I desired a mentor. Every place I worked I learned something, but I never had someone to guide me. I have a desire to share my knowledge, as does Tony. I’ve worked in so many iterations of bars I take what I know from dive bars, to nightclubs, a small cocktail bar, a fast-paced, high volume cocktail bar, a Michelin star place and mush it all together. We say to our people, ‘Here’s all the information, If you want it, take it and use it.’”

Do try Jalisco Fields Forever at home. To know if you’ll hit the right notes, stop by Platypus and try one there over the next two weeks.

314-359-2293; drinkplatypus.com

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