Monday, September 26, 2011

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The Vanderbilt Fugitive

In issue 41 of The Southern Foodways Alliance’s quarterly newsletter Gravy, co-owner, bartender, and extraordinarily nice guy Bobby Heugel writes “At Anvil Bar & Refuge in Houston, we believe in the narrative power of a great menu. Our Summer in the South menus approaches each cocktail-character as an advocate for Southern traditions and ingredients—few of which are more iconic than buttermilk.”

Set aside for the moment — careful, now, don’t jostle it — the notion of a cocktail-character and instead cast your eye on the concoction Heugel presents in the piece: the Vanderbilt Fugitive.

The original Vanderbilt Fugitives were a group of early twentieth-century writers and poets who came together at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. Counted in their ranks were Southern men of letters such as Robert Penn Warren (All the King’s Men), Allen Tate ("Ode to the Confederate Dead"), William Ridley Wills, and others. You can just feel bourbon dripping from the walls at the evocation of their names.

But this isn’t a bourbon drink. If you recall, it’s a buttermilk drink. Oh there’s rum, yellow Chartreuse, Averna, all kinds of delicious things — but it’s the buttermilk that gives it that special je ne sais what?
The Vanderbilt Fugitive

1.75 oz El Dorado 5 Year Demerara Rum
1 oz rich, acidic buttermilk
.5 oz Yellow Chartreuse
.5 oz Averna Amaro
.5 oz maple syrup

Combine all ingredients with ice and shake for at least two to three minutes, allowing cocktail to expand in volume. Strain into a Collins glass with cubed ice. Garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.
~ by Yao Lu and Anvil colleagues

Goes well with:
  • The SFA’s “foodletter” Gravy. Download it here.
  • When in Houston, drop by Anvil. If you’ve more than six in your party, make certain you all order a Ramos gin fizz — and on no account tell them I sent you.

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