James Beard Award winning Chef Tony Maws opened The Kirkland Tap & Trotter in Somerville, Massachusetts in September with an emphasis on creating a warm, comfortable space with large portions and over-flowing glasses. The cuisine is New English Gastropub – hearty, home style dishes like red wine-braised short ribs, sirloin tip brochette and fire-roasted chicken– and the cocktails, mixed by Bar Manager Tyler Wang, are simple and strong.
The best of the bunch is the "Shady Hills Soda." This scotch-driven cocktail contains Silver Cachaça and Apple Sage Soda. "Our soda cocktails developed because I, as a bar patron, love highballs," says Wang. "Highballs are generally a little sweet, but refreshing and when made right, they can keep even the most ardent cocktail drinker intrigued." The secret at the Tap & Trotter is in the house-made soda.
"Maybe I over-romanticize it, but the history of sodas and soda-fountains fascinate me," says Wang, who thinks of soda jerks as approachable chemists. "They dealt in fantastically complex libations of tinctures layered into chemical acids turned into syrups and finally into a delicious and accessible beverage."
For the Shady Hill Soda, he drew on flavor combinations he already knew to be delicious together. "It was all conceptual. Savory scotch and sweet apple are wonderful together."
The Shady Hills Soda
- 3/4 oz Pig Nose Scotch
- 3/4 oz Novo Fogo Silver Cachaça
- 1/2 oz Apple-Sage Soda Syrup*
- 3 oz Soda Water
- * Apple-Sage Soda Syrup
- 500ml Fresh Pressed Apple Cider
- 20 grams Fresh Picked Sage
- 30 grams Citric Acid
- 600 grams Demerara Sugar
Lightly press/muddle sage in the bottom of a pot. Add apple cider and citric acid. Bring mixture to a boil. Once boiling, remove from heat, cover and allow to cool. Stir in sugar until dissolved.