Behind the Stick with Sami Saltagi of Et Voilà! French Bistro
Sami Saltagi, master mixologist at Et Voilà! French Bistro in Normal Heights, is creating some delicious cocktails utilizing syrups and nectars that are infused in-house. On the next 'Behind the Stick,' we chat with Saltagi about his journey in the industry and how to make his Huckleberry Bourbon cocktail.
1 oz Huckleberry-Agave/Maple-infused nectar .75 oz lemon juice 2 oz Old Forester bourbon Dashes of orange bitters Garnished with lemon twist Garnished with infused huckleberries
What's the story behind the Huckleberry Bourbon?
A coordination/effort between kitchen and bar. Started as an enhanced syrup for our Pain Perdu (French toast) and discovered during a sample tasting. It was spring, and the process of creating summer drinks was in play at the time, but being a whiskey aficionado, I wanted to incorporate it both as a whiskey forward drink and refreshing feel with some depth. So first came tweaking the nectar recipe to bring out both the maple and huckleberry flavor, with varying attempts at quantity, simmering temperature and time, and the process and stages of adding the ingredients. Not to mention the testing with different kinds and types of syrups, nectars, juices and sugars. The end result was so balanced and perfect, surprisingly, little more than bourbon, a squeeze of fresh lemon, and a couple dashes of orange bitters were needed to complete and perfect this cocktail.
Describe the taste.