A couple of times a year, Polar Seltzer uncorks limited-edition flavors to the bubbling delight of its die-hard devotees. The Worcester-based fizz whiz recently rolled out its winter sparklers, introducing newcomers Blackberry Clementine, Hibiscus Cloudberry and Vanilla Zen. Sure, these popping options are tasty enough to sip straight up, by why not use them in cocktails for your next bash? If your bartending game begins and ends at vodka sodas, shake things up with these recipes dreamed up by three local bartenders.
Justin Hackett, general manager of Shojo, was inspired by Polar’s New England roots for his continent-hopping cocktail, which he dubs Verge of Extinction. “I went toward flavors derivative of our corner of the world, with some Asian influence,” he says, noting the cranberry as well as the East Asian citrus fruit yuzu. “The flavor of the cocktail reminds me of homemade ginger-spiked cranberry sauce.” The brightness of the yuzu cuts through the cream soda notes of the seltzer—created as a nod to Meghan Markle, according to Polar—for a not-too-sweet sip.
VERGE OF EXTINCTION
1 ounce ginger vodka
1 1/2 ounces cranberry liqueur
1 ounce Choya Sarari yuzu liqueur
Splash of Vanilla Zen seltzer
Pour the ginger vodka, cranberry liqueur and yuzu liqueur into a mixing glass. Add ice and shake. Pour into a rocks glass and top with the Vanilla Zen seltzer. Garnish with a twist of lime.
Shojo, 9 Tyler St., Boston (617-423-7888) shojoboston.com
1/2 ounce Hibiscus Cloudberry seltzer simple syrup (see recipe below)
2 dashes orange bitters
2 dashes Angostura bitters
1/2 ounce Plantation Xaymaca rum
1/2 ounce Plantation Original dark rum
1 ounce Privateer Silver rum
To make the simple syrup, combine 1 cup of flat Hibiscus Cloudberry seltzer and 1 cup of sugar in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and cool. Put the bitters, rums and the simple syrup into a mixing glass, add ice and stir until chilled, about 15 seconds. Strain the mixture over ice and garnish with an expressed lime twist.
The Automatic, 50 Hampshire St., Cambridge (617-714-5226) theautomaticbar.com
You might not know of D’Aristi xtabentún—a liqueur with anise first distilled by Mayans—but Parla’s general manager Matt Schafer paired the rich spirit with the Blackberry Clementine seltzer. “I thought the anise and lavender notes would be nice,” he says. With a bit of heartiness from the egg white and an herby, licorice-like finish, this drinkable dessert rounds out a decadent meal.
A DAINTY ACQUAINTANCE
1 ounce Dolin Blanc vermouth
3/4 ounce D’Aristi xtabentún
1/2 ounce Hayman’s Old Tom gin
1/4 ounce blackberry cilantro shrub
1 egg white
6 ounce Blackberry Clementine seltzer
Lavender bitters spray
Add vermouth, xtabentún, gin, shrub and egg white to a mixing glass and shake vigorously for 15 seconds. Add ice and shake again. Finely strain into a 12-ounce Collins glass with a king cube. Add the Blackberry Clementine seltzer and 2 sprays of lavender bitters. Garnish with a lemon twist and a blackberry.
Parla, 230 Hanover St., Boston (617-367-2824) parlaboston.com