1503 30th Street, South Park
(Has gone out of business since this article was published.)
Already known for a menu informed by a free association of tastes, Alchemy continues to maintain the element of surprise by offering shrubs.
No, not the kind arranged, designed, and sold by Monty Python’s medieval horticulturalist, but the old-time elixir produced from fresh fruit and combined with sugar and vinegar after sitting in cold storage for a period of time.
The sweet-and-tart juice leached from the fruit becomes the shrub — and its unique flavor has led to the creation of Alchemy’s flagship shrub-based cocktail, the Patron’s Saint.
According to Alchemy alchemist Nick Meyers, both shrub and drink were inspired by Alchemy friend and entrepreneur Ray Lawson, whose St. Didacus strawberry shrub is the defining flavor in the Patron’s Saint.
Meyers says he wanted to tie the Patron’s Saint in with Lawson’s creation — and he came up with the hagiographic moniker as an indirect reference to the St. Didacus strawberry shrub, which Lawson named in honor of San Diego’s patron saint — St. Didacus of Alcalá (d. 1463).
“I forget what they wanted to call the drink at first,” Meyers says, “but I was thinking we could tie in the name of the saint into the name of the cocktail because of St. Didacus. So, I was thinking a patron saint would be a good ring — but also because Ray is a patron of ours, I decided to call it the Patron’s Saint to tie it all together.”
The perfect summertime aperitif, Meyers says, it maximizes the shrub’s virtues, including the happy dividends of sugar and balsamic vinegar.
“Up front you taste a slight acidic mixed with the strawberry,” he says. “So it’s the same kind of attributes that you get from a balsamic vinegar: tart, a little spicy in the back of the throat, but with the strawberry, you’re also going to get a lot of sweetness. Ultimately, you’re trying to achieve in the drink that same balance of sweet and tart which comes about through the shrub.”
HOW TO MAKE IT
In a rocks glass filled with ice, pour:
- 1 ½ oz. Plymouth gin
- ½ oz. St. Didacus strawberry shrub
- ½ oz. fresh lemon juice
Stir, top with soda, add a lemon twist garnish after squeezing peel and expressing oils over the top, and commune with the divine.