Winter has appeared on the horizon, which means the cocktail list at Hatch Distilling Co. in Egg Harbor has switched from summer refreshments to a new batch of creations geared toward chillier days. The new list went into effect on October 29 and will be served through the holiday months.
The list features five new cocktails — two gin, two vodka and one limoncello based — and has carried over three from the summer list, including the Jamaican Jerk Bloody Mary, Hibisky Old Fashioned and Cherry Bourbon Smash. “There would be a riot in the street if we got rid of that one,” bartender Phillip Byrd said of the Cherry Bourbon Smash which has become a fan favorite, “and the bloody and old fashioned are obviously menu staples.”
Since limoncello is the newest addition to Hatch’s offerings (released about a month ago) I made the limoncello cocktail my first order. Known as a popular Italian digestif, limoncello is commonly made using a mixture of sugar, lemons or lemon zest and vodka. While Byrd gathered the bar tools and ingredients, I inquired about the Hatch version of limoncello and learned it uses organic lemon peels, Hatch’s own honey in place of the sugar and Hatch vodka. “The honey gives the limoncello a smoother mouthfeel; it has that smoother viscosity.”
The Daisy Buchanan cocktail ingredients are listed as limoncello, vodka, lavender and cream. The cloudy yellow liquid used in the cocktail hinted at the strong lemon flavor derived from the essential oils concentrated in the lemon peel. After being shaken and strained, the liquid poured in the coupe cocktail glass was frothy and white. Finished with a spritz of lavender essence and a dusting of ground clove, the drink was ready for a first sip.
Breathing in the floral and spice, the aroma acted as a siren song inviting me to take a drink. The first sip revealed the sharp tartness of the limoncello, surprising me with the bittersweetness. The second and third sips softened the impact as the cream aided in mellowing the flavor.
The cocktail’s name, Daisy Buchanan, is after the fictional character in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. In the novel, Daisy Buchanan is a beautiful, upper-class woman with a pained existence; her life seems gilded but her youthful dreams have been dashed and she begins to regret having them in the first place. As a reader, it is hard to determine if you have empathy or disdain for her as she laments that life would be easier as a “beautiful little fool.”
Having her namesake, the limoncello cocktail led me to a similar juxtaposition. Feeling entranced by the beautiful creamy appearance and fragrant lavender scent, the bittersweet flavor contradicts my expectation of something sweet. At first sip it’s jarring, but I kept sipping nonetheless trying to decipher the combination of scent and taste.
As for the additional new cocktails, I have yet to try them all but have faith they will be equally intriguing. The names alone have me pondering when my next happy hour will be: the Key West and Red Hair & Black Leather are the two new gin cocktails and the Canadian Tuxedo and Harvest Moon use Hatch’s vodka.
Hatch Distillery Co. is now under fall operation hours: 12-5 pm Monday, 12-6 pm Thursday, 11 am – 8 pm Friday and Saturday, and 11 am – 5 pm Sunday. Hatch is closed Tuesday and Wednesday.