Where: Darna Restaurant, 946 N. Jackson St., Arlington
Bartender: Eric Tollar
Mystery Ingredient: Ground white pepper
Bartender Response: “I can take the easy way out or the hard way,” Tollar contemplated before deeming a Bloody Mary too clichéd. “Go for gusto,” he said as he whipped up a homemade foam instead.
What We Got: A riff on a root beer float, topped with white peppery foam.
How It Tasted: Earthy with a lot of licorice flavor and some sweetness from Coca-Cola and Licor 43, a Spanish liquor known for its citrusy vanilla notes. The pepper foam brought a sinus-clearing kick.
Improv Points (1 to 5): 4. Incorporating the colorless pepper into a white foam was a smart, intuitive move. Tasted on its own, the foam practically lit my tongue on fire. But when poured into a tall glass, it filtered the sweet brew, offering a balanced, spicy finish.
3/4 ounce lemon juice
Heaping 1/2 teaspoon of ground white pepper
Two egg whites
1/2 ounce simple syrup
1.5 ounces of Art in the Age’s Root liquor
1/2 ounce Licor 43
Scrappy’s cardamom bitters
Combine lemon juice and white pepper and stir till pepper dissolves. Pour mixture into a cream whipper canister, then add egg whites and simple syrup. Give canister a good shake, then charge with a CO2 cartridge. Shake again, and apply a second CO2 cartridge to create the proper foam texture. Set canister aside. Add Root liquor and Licor 43 to a cocktail shaker, shake, and strain into a tall glass. Add a splash of Coca-Cola, wait for carbonation to settle, then add a 3/4 inch layer of white pepper foam on top of liquid. Top with two to three dashes of Scappy’s cardamom bitters.
Photo by Adele Chapin