Union Square bartender wins recent Cocktail Finals—AND, Union Square now has its very own libation: The Union!
The results from Boston’s March Cocktail Finals are in—and the winner hails from, you guessed it, Union Square! Sam Treadway of Backbar, our new favorite speakeasy, recently won the Great Improper Bartending Competition, a contest organized by the Improper Bostostonian and judged by a quartet of experts, including Brother Cleve, a hallowed mixologist who also happens to be a musician, dj and cultural programmer (he recently hosted our Pisco Party at Machu Picchu).
Sam won with a libation dubbed “East Meets West,” a unlikely concoction of Don Julio Añejo tequila, Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur, Yamazaki whiskey, lemon juice and three drops of Sriracha. We are intrigued, to say the least. We reckon its mighty tasty and like nothing we’ve sipped before, like the “Tequila Mockingbird” Sam made us recently—a mix of mezcal, agave syrup, whipped eggwhite and peychaud bitters.
Back to Brother Cleve, the grand Poobah arbiter of these recent cocktail finals. A few months ago, we asked Cleve to invent a few cocktails especially for Union Square. He happily obliged and developed four cocktails—including “The Union”—which nod to Somerville’s many different cultural groups. These cocktail recipes will be published in our forthcoming Nibble book. In the meantime, you can sidle up to the Independent bar and order “The Union” anytime, or head to Backbar this coming Monday, April 30, where Cleve will be guest bartending.
A few words from Cleve about “The Union”
“This drink, which includes Irish whiskey, Portuguese Madeira, Italian amaro (an herbal digestivo), is a tribute to Somerville’s initial immigrants. I call it “The Union” for a number of reasons. First up, it’s a variation of “The Manhattan,” a cocktail that dates back to 1873. In recent years, this classic drink has been modified and renamed throughout the New York City and Brooklyn neighborhoods: there’s a “Red Hook,” a “Carroll Gardens,” a “Brooklyn Heights”—the list goes on. Continuing in this tradition, now there’s a neighborhood drink for Union Square! The cocktail is a “new school” remix using classic “old school” Somerville spirits.”
Combine all ingredients with ice in a mixing glass, and stir. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a Maraschino cherry.
This coming Monday at Backbar, Cleve will also be serving up the Péru Négro (another cocktail to be featured in our Nibble book), along with other originals like “Third River Rangoon” (Thai rum, falernum, curaçao, lime, cinnamon syrup) and the “Luna de Oro.” He’s also bringing his ipod, which, we’re guessing, is as well-stocked and exotic as his bar.