Jackson 20 has a revamped cocktail menu courtesy of new head bartender Dean Feddaoui. This month, visitors can find the answer to the question, "Does Greek yogurt really belong in a mixed drink?"
Feddaoui thinks they'll be convinced after trying The Fountain of Eden, which he created at the request of the Hotel Monaco Alexandria's general manager to go with the Kimpton hotel's health awareness week. "It's a really healthy, refreshing cocktail that I created to be the opposite of what the common perception would be." Instead of a milky color and creamy texture coming from the yogurt, Feddaoui clarified the yogurt with lemon zest, mint and ginger and put it in a syphon. He then combines with with Double Cross vodka (which itself has a creamy texture) to make the concoction.
When developing the bar's new cocktail menu, Feddaoui, who most recently worked at the now-shuttered 901 Restaurant, spent some time meeting the bar's regulars and finding out what kind of business Jackson 20 draws. He worked on designing balanced drinks that weren't too sweet. "I like to play games with the guest, asking them, 'What do you like? What do you hate? Do you like sour? Bitter? Tequila?'" That helps guide me; I like to tailor menus to what the guest likes, not what I like." The bartender's drinks tend to be based on five different components: a base liquor, a modifier flavor (such as, say, Campari or Aperol), something sweet, something bitter and something sour. "That will create a balanced cocktail— I wouldn't call it a magic formula, but it's a start."
Feddaoui, a native of Algeria who has also worked at Bourbon Steak and Dirty Martini, as well as such places as New York's Buddha Bar and Brasserie 8 1/2, made a couple of cosmetic changes to the bar - juices are now in glass containers, and each bar station almost has a mini bar set-up to it. He's excited about the challenges the new gig presents, such as working within Virginia's sometimes-archaic liquor laws involving things like self-made infusions. He's pleased with the number of locals Jackson 20 has, from neighborhood regulars to return guests of the hotel. "If they're coming back and staying at the hotel again, that feels great; you see their expectations have been met, or maybe exceeded," he said. "To see that kind of gratitude in a guest's face — that's one of the biggest rewards. It's amazing."
Here are two of his new drinks:
1.5 oz herradura silver
0.75 oz cucumber juice
0.25 oz triple sec
1.5 oz ketel one
0.25 crème de violette
5 blackberries ( do not muddle)
2 dashes lavender bitters
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