Jordan Stacey may look suitably buttoned-up at Brassaii, but there’s plenty of cocktail rule-breaking going on behind the bar.
Cocktail: Summertime Old Fashioned
$15 at Brassaii (461 King St. W. #KGW)
In a relatively corporate environment like Brassaii on King West, we might expect complete and total order behind the bar. Instead, with Jordan Stacey at the helm, there’s an infectious bit of improvisation, which results in drinks like his seriously rule-bending Summertime Old Fashioned. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t respect the basics. Like any good artist, he had to learn the tradition before he could break with it.
“We’ve come to think of an Old Fashioned as a cocktail made from whiskey, bitters, and citrus,” Stacey says. “I’ve reinterpreted it to mean just serving a spirit—in this case, Plymouth gin—in an old-fashioned way.” Although the Summer Old Fashioned’s citrus-lavender-honey flavour is inspired by Provence, which is in keeping with Brassaii’s Mediterranean influence, Stacey looks to three decidedly non-French classics for inspiration on proportions.
“The Old Fashioned, the Negroni, and the Manhattan are, to me, the holy trinity of drinks,” he says.
All three are essentially straight spirit drinks, heavy on both the booze and the bitters. From there, though, Stacey starts to experiment, infusing his Summertime Old Fashioned with loads of unexpected floral and herbal qualities. He also admits to coming up with a few great drinks while engaging in “slightly tipsy” cocktail-making at home. Often, that happens while he’s whipping up some ceviche and playing around with Latin flavours of citrus and spice. “I don’t do that much of that here [at Brassaii], since I’m more driven by my love for classic cocktails,” he says. “But I think it’s really about keeping an open mind.”
Jordan Stacey’s Summertime Old Fashioned
Gin + Lavender syrup + Honey mead + Lemon + Lemon bitters + Edible-flower garnish