what:G & Tiki
where: Tallulah, 2400 Devine St.
With signs of fall slowly moving in, and knowing that cocktail menus will soon be filled with warming spices, I set out to find a perfect sign-off-to-summer drink. The G & Tiki at Tallulah caught my eye. Bartender Allison Lovelace created this cleverly named mashup of the classic malaria-fighting cocktail and the over-the-top tiki drink. Tallulah chef Russell Jones makes the falernum (a tropical spiced syrup) and tonic water in house — interestingly, he uses sorghum as the sweetener in the tonic — so Lovelace decided to combine the most notable uses of these two ingredients.
The G & Tiki combines falernum and tonic with Seagram’s Gin instead of a tiki drink’s usual rum; Cherry Heering for a little sweetness and color; and amaretto to give a hint of almond and balance the drink out. All this is expertly mixed with a swizzle stick by Lovelace until the top of the glass is encrusted in a thick frozen condensation. Pro tip: Don’t grab the glass by the icy part, or it will slip from your fingers and loudly hit the bar and embarrass you. (Not that I would know from personal experience.) Crushed ice and a sprig of mint complete the ensemble.
The whiff of mint prepares your palate for the sweet floral punch of the drink, which fades into the lovely medicinal bitter of the housemade tonic. It’s satisfyingly tiki without being overly boozy, making it a great way to transition from our extra-hot summer to our still kinda hot fall. — Tug Baker