Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Appreciate the flavor of fall with Underground’s Fall Liquid Regiments regime

Underground’s latest manager, U.K. transplant and mixologist Benjamin Newby, keeps the club on the cutting edge of cool with its Fall Liquid Regiments menu. Newby’s fall seasonal cocktails are broken up into three groups: the Seasonal Taste Assault, the Sweet Tooth Brigade and Champagne Manueuvers.

As apparent by the name, the menu offers something for everyone, a list of seasonal fruit-inspired martinis, a variety of flavor profiles and garnishes (like cucumbers, oatmeal cookies, blackberries and marshmallows) that offers something for even the most discerning tastes.

Champagne lovers will quickly adore the Champagne Maneuvers menu, which showcases the flavor of Moet and Chandon’s latest sweet (but not too sweet) Champagne, Nectar. The Autumn Maneuvers ($15) mixes Nectar with a teaspoon of honey and Cointreau for a slightly warm, sparkling and citrus flavor (thanks to the orange zest added at the very end) and showcases the flavor of the new champagne. The maneuvers team is rounded out by the Maple Maneuvers (with Knob Creek bourbon, Nectar, a hint of maple syrup and garnished with a vanilla bean) and the Licorice Maneuvers ($15), which prides itself on capturing the essence of absinthe by lighting a sugar cube soaked with sambuca on fire and dropping it into a glass of Nectar.

The Sweet Tooth Brigade is for the rich, sweet and dessert-inspired cocktails. Prepared wrong, after a few sips these types of cocktails lose the delicate balance of flavors and acidity that make rich cocktails successful. But the Smore! Yes, Smore! ($12) mixes Godiva white chocolate, cream and a bit of egg white with Madagascan vanilla bean and house-infused marshmallow vodka for the perfect after-dinner drink. But be warned -- after losing my marshmallow garnish I found it sticking to my heel and inhibiting my dance moves throughout the night.

The cocktail list, with different textures, taste profiles and liquors, offers something for everyone, but of the nine new offerings, the variations on the classic cocktail, the Seasonal Assault Team steals the show. Comprised of flavorful autumn fruits, the team is definitely Underground’s strongest, offering cocktails like the Colonel Blackapple ($12), with muddled fresh blackberries, crème de cassis and Bacardi Apple mixed with a squeeze of fresh lime and organic apple juice. The warmness of the rum blends well with the fruits, keeping the drinks perfect for fall and not too summery-sweet. A true libation lover's tip: Don’t even think of skipping on the green apple and sweet blackberry garnish, or you may miss a part of enjoying the cocktail experience.

The Pear for the Course ($12), one of Newby’s favorites, is comprised of Grey Goose L’Poir, fresh pear juice and butterscotch schnapps, giving the cocktail a carmelized pear taste and the ability to do double duty on the sweet tooth brigade as well, but the light, fruit flavors confirm its place on the Seasonal Assault Team.

But the true star of the menu is the Captain Cucumon ($12), a muddled mix of fresh cucumbers, sugar and lemon wedges added to organic Snow Queen vodka. This is truly a refreshing cocktail, which simply relies on fresh flavors to revitalize and awaken the senses of sluggish clubbers come that post-1 a.m. time frame. - Maya Henderson