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New Dali Museum exhibit inspires FarmTable Kitchen's summer cocktail lineup

ST. PETERSBURG

The crushed ice in the gimletlike drink was supposed to mimic the tulle of a ballet skirt; the double-twisted orange peel garnishing a peach fizz, flowing ribbons.

At Locale Market's FarmTable Kitchen, it's no stretch to say that the cocktails are an art form. For the past year, the rotating drinks list has been inspired by exhibits at the Dalí Museum a couple of blocks away.

On Friday, the restaurant debuted a cocktail menu influenced by "Horst: Photography — Fashion and Surrealism," the current exhibit chronicling works by 20th century photographer Horst P. Horst.

The goal with this program, Locale general manager Justin Yu said, is to continue to foster a partnership between the market-restaurant and the museum.

But the cocktails also offer the bartenders at Locale a creative challenge: The second-floor restaurant doesn't have a full liquor license, which means their cocktails are created without the usual vodka, whiskey, gin, etc. Instead, the bar program relies on things like liqueurs and aperitifs to boost the alcohol content and flavor profiles of the drinks.

(Yu said they can serve wine-based spirits, such as vermouth, and other specialty liqueurs that don't fall into the "hard spirits" category. But not all of them are low in alcohol content: The Dolin Genepy des Alpes is a 90 proof liqueur.)

"Being limited to aperitifs and such really sparks our creativity and imagination," said FarmTable Kitchen lead bartender Brandon Redshaw.

That's apparent in the new lineup, a collection of eight drinks created to be refreshing summer sippers. They're based on actual photographs from Horst — Locale received a dozen thumbnails of images in the Dalí exhibit about two weeks ago and got to work creating cocktails that paid homage to those visuals.

"This one is a bit more directly correlated," than past exhibits, Yu said. "It's fun to have an inspirational take on it, but we're not being too literal. We don't want to infringe on any copyrights or anything."

Take that gimlet drink, called the Round the Clock, the same name as Horst's 1987 photograph of a dancer with her tutu hitched up. Its base is carpano bianco, a gin-style vermouth made with white wine. That's mixed with Bittermens Orchard Street Celery Shrub and some fresh lime juice, which gives the drink a tang that keeps it from being too sweet. It is served over finely crushed ice, conjuring the ruffles of tulle in Horst's photograph. It's intensely sippable.

"This is what we like to call a patio pounder," said Redshaw. "It's almost like a slushie. And the name also refers to the fact that you can drink it around the clock."

The French Riviera pays tribute to the many actors and celebrities Horst photographed, and summons the essence of glamorous locales like Saint-Tropez. The light purple drink is made with an herbal liqueur called Dolin Genepy des Alpes, plus fresh lemon and a honey-lavender syrup that Locale makes in-house. There are also real bits of crushed lavender floating in the drink, a nod to the lavender fields of Provence, France.

Keeping with the celebrity theme is the Marilyn Monroe, a cocktail made with Lacuesta vermouth and a housemade strawberry syrup. The red color of the drink is inspired by Monroe's iconic lipstick, Redshaw said, a dash of seltzer adding a fizzy element that echoes Monroe's "effervescent" personality (though the drink isn't as sweet as you'd think). And there's the Marlene Dietrich, an Old Fashioned-type cocktail made with the anise-flavored sloe liqueur Zoco that's much more booze-forward than the rest of the lineup.

One of the most interesting drinks on this current menu is the Summer Fashions, inspired by a Vogue cover Horst shot in 1941 in which a swimmer is pointing her legs up toward the summer sky. An Italian aperitif called Cocchi Americano is mellowed out by egg white, mint and a superb housemade cantaloupe syrup. Garnished with a melon ball that mimics the sun in the photo, it's sultry and savory while also tasting dangerously like juice.

The rest of the menu includes another frothy egg white concoction called the Mainbocher Corset, inspired by one of Horst's most famous photos, a 1939 image of a woman in a corset; the Bacchanale, a peach fizz-like drink; and the Parisian Summer, which combines the classic pairing of watermelon and basil.

Contact Michelle Stark at mstark@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8829. Follow @mstark17.

New Dali Museum exhibit inspires FarmTable Kitchen's summer cocktail lineup 07/05/16 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 5, 2016 11:27am]
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