Ingredients: Toki Whisky, Bénédictine, absinthe, Lagavulin and Yellow Chartreuse
Background: “I have different goals when I approach cocktails,” PAGU wine steward Larry Rubin explains. “I’m all about playing with aroma, flavor and the way they interact with each other.”
Flavor Profile: First your nose detects intense smokiness. “It smells like you’re drinking straight Scotch whisky,” says Rubin, who sprays the tulip-shaped glass with the Islay single malt and sets it aflame with absinthe for a hint of licorice. “But then once you actually get into the drink, there’s this really nice, smooth palette that makes it perfect for summer”—even sans citrus. The two-ounce pour of Japanese whisky is met with a “salt and pepper” dash of Bénédictine and Yellow Chartreuse, plus a bit of sugar “to mellow out the drink a little bit.”
Namesake: After a movie marathon, Rubin was taken with the Irish actor’s role of an ex-CIA agent turned kidnap-avenging father in the blockbuster action franchise. He drew parallels between the Taken character Bryan Mills—“this really rugged, tough guy with a rough past who just loves his daughter and family”—and the cocktail’s coexisting strong and gentle sides.
Second Round: The self-professed wine nerd suggests a glass of the pinot noir-like Descendientes de J. Palacios Petalos ($15) for Scotch, bourbon or rye drinkers. “It’s not very heavy; it’s not very oaky. There’s a real clarity of fruit and earthiness… It’s just got that similar spice complex thing going on.”
PAGU 310 Mass. Ave., Cambridge (617-945-9290) gopagu.com