Paese’s Shane Mulvany has found a genius use for August’s abundant strawberries: He adds a ton of booze to them.
Cocktail: Spiced Strawberry Swizzle
$12 at Paese Restaurant (333 King St. W. #ENT)
Shane Mulvany is nothing if not consistent. The Irish native comes by it honestly, after nearly a year spent training with Tony Conigliaro at his acclaimed cocktail bars in London, England. Conigliaro is perhaps best known for his innovative molecular techniques and attention to detail—particularly at 69 Colebrooke Row in Islington, where all the drink recipes are supported with a doorstopper of spec sheets that have to be memorized and followed exactly by each bartender. Miss a step and you’re demoted to bar-back for the night.
“Colebrooke is the bar that changed my life,” Mulvany says. “Tony sees drinks like nobody else does. He thinks hard about how a drink is going to look, smell, and taste, and what the story behind it is. You quickly realize that a drink you came up with one night might take three months before it’s really ready.”
Mulvany left London for Toronto earlier this year, but precision remains at the core of his drinks-making philosophy. He applies it not only to the execution of original recipes, like the Spiced Strawberry Swizzle, but also to his elaborate, daily preparation of in-house syrups and mixes for the bar at Paese.
His Swizzle—a super-sophisticated slushy—is concocted with rum, home-made falernum, fresh lime, crushed ice, and Mulvany’s own strawberry-black pepper syrup. He was inspired by the childhood walks he took with his grandmother in their hometown of Cavan, where fresh strawberries lined the laneways. (She always garnished them with a little black pepper.) The drink is incredibly fragrant and fresh, but the clove, pepper, and sweet Cuban rum put a more mature spin on the strawberry taste.
“The crushed ice helps to keep the drink icy-cold, which is good for summer,” Mulvany says. “It also keeps people from just knocking it back, which you don’t want to do, since there’s quite a lot of liquor in there.”
Shane Mulvany’s Spiced Strawberry Swizzle
Havana Club white rum + Strawberry-black pepper syrup + Lime + Falernum + Crushed ice + Strawberry garnish