Underserved is a recurring Y&H feature highlighting the best cocktails you’re not ordering.
What: Grant’s Hour with Angostura Amaro, Angostura 7 Year Old Rum, orgeat, and lemon
Where: McClellan’s Retreat, 2031 Florida Ave. NW
What You Should Be Drinking
This strawberry-Nesquik-colored tiki drink gets its boozy base from rum and amaro of the same Trinidad and Tobago producer. In fact, the drink is Bar Manager Brian Nixon’s twist on a Trinidad Sour, which traditionally calls for rye instead of rum and a full shot of Angostura bitters. Along with the amaro and rum, Grant’s Hour contains orgeat, which Nixon makes using a recipe from renowned tiki mixologist and author, Beachbum Berry. The almond syrup is a common ingredient in tiki drinks. “We take almonds, soak them, crush them, soak them more, and squeeze out all of the almond milk,” Nixon explains. “Then we add sugar, brandy, and orange blossom water, and it comes out to be beautifully creamy and rich.” A very generous squirt of fresh lemon juice balances out the syrupy orgeat. Since McClellan’s Retreat is a Civil War–themed bar, Nixon named the drink after Ulysses S. Grant—”a really big boozer,” he explains.
Why You Should be Drinking It
Despite having a real backbone to it (and its namesake), Grant’s Hour doesn’t hit you over the head with booziness like a high-proof cocktail sometimes can. Instead, the first thing you notice is its viscosity. It’s thick—like an egg-based cocktail—thanks to the orgeat. The next thing that tricks your palate is how much it tastes like old-school bubblegum—like a powered square of Bazooka grandpa gave you at your first baseball game. Nixon says customers are shying away from the drink because of the oddball ingredients, but they shouldn’t. “You have to walk people through what things are so they’re not afraid of it. We do a lot of that here,” he says. “[Grant’s Hour] comes out really pretty and really light in flavor.”
Photo by Laura Hayes