Ingredients: Plantation dark rum, Metaxa 5 Star, grenadine, lime, Tiki bitters
Background: For his Tiki drink with a Mediterranean twist, Saloniki beverage manager Eric Kurss figured a brandy would play well with his choice of a Jamaican rum that’s aged in French cognac barrels. Enter Metaxa, which he pairs with a housemade pomegranate and orange blossom syrup and serves in a clay amphora-like vessel. And while Kurss describes this patio crusher as “island-friendly,” it has plenty of baking spice notes to warm up to.
Greece is the word: Saloniki expanded its draft cocktail menu when the local fast-casual chain opened a new Harvard Square flagship this fall, putting Greek spirits front and center—and we’re not only talking ouzo, which COO Jonathan Mendez admits is not everyone’s cup of tea. “We didn’t want to be afraid of putting words like rakomelo on the menu. But we want it to make sense to people.” That includes Boston-based Kleos’ mastiha. “It only comes from one island in the entire world, Chios,” Mendez explains of the liqueur distilled from mastic trees’ sap.
Elsewhere: While local craft beers mingle with imports like Mythos, the wines are 100-percent Greek and feature off-the-beaten-path varietals. Kurss’ current go-to is Tetramythos’s roditis ($13)—the country’s second most widely planted white grape—thanks to the “huge citrus pop at the end” that pairs with zucchini feta fritters ($4). And don’t let the in-and-out atmosphere fool you: This glass, like Saloniki’s several other options, is a sustainable pour. Says Mendez: “Who wrote that rule that you can’t have a great wine by-the-glass, cocktail and beer program in a fast, accessible setting?”
Saloniki 24 Dunster St., Cambridge (617-945-5877) salonikigreek.com