Drink of the Moment
Giddy with gadgets and eager to experiment, Clio’s Todd Maul has a penchant for twisting a cocktail’s fundamental components. His latest target is seemingly simple: ice. Rather than just “making something smaller from something bigger,” Maul makes functional ice cubes that build flavors.
Drinks like the Todd Collins and the Bull’s Eye Gin and Tonic (both $13) are defined by the effects of ice. To create the Bull’s Eye, Maul drills holes into 2-inch ice cubes and fills them with loomi—dried black lime. As they melt, the clear drink becomes increasingly dark, spicy and citrusy. The Collins, on the other hand, is garnished with a long blue block filled with candied violet. This transforms the drink from a light, lemony refreshment to an earthier, more complex, periwinkle-hued concoction.
“It’s not about making drinks cooler, prettier or more fun,” he explains. “It’s about progress and taking something that’s ‘good enough’ and making it great. Anything you can manipulate, you should. Not for the sake of manipulation, but to make a better drink.”
Maul is currently perfecting a Verveine cocktail that’ll feature a long thin sliver of cucumber frozen inside an ice sphere (a mold he invented himself). As the ice melts, the cucumber unravels to alter the liqueur’s herbal flavor.
Discussing his menu of 80-plus drinks, Maul compares himself to a jazz musician. “The original menu was to prove that I could play the basics. Now watch for the riffs.”
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