“Sin” is not the first word that comes to mind when meeting Jennifer Luxmoore, the mastermind behind the recently opened Sin on Westminster. Luxmoore has a pixie-ish demeanor and a voice reminiscent of hushed conversations with my best girlfriends. Her sinful streak becomes apparent soon, though, when she’s asked about the origins of her bakery’s sweets-with-booze concept. “I realized with my husband that we often wanted a dessert or a drink at the end of an evening out,” she says, “and we didn’t want to choose one or the other.”
For this month’s column, Jennifer shared how to make the Black Forest cocktail, her personal favorite. It riffs on the famed chocolate-cherry German cake in a sophisticated way: It involves no cake crumbs or frosting, no cavity-inducing whipped creams and no sprinkles. It’s not a dessert cocktail per se, but rather a cocktail designed to be paired with dessert.
Jennifer and her team create pairings through what sounds like Willy Wonka’s lab for drinking-age adults. “We always begin with the dessert,” Luxmoore tells me, “and then there’s an experimental period, trying to find combinations that complement it best.” Devising the Black Forest was a challenge, she says, in that it had to play nice with a chocolate bread pudding that’s covered with dollops of mint gelato. “A too-chocolatey drink would feel overwhelming,” she explains, “but something too minty could invoke mouthwash.”
She credits her bar manager, Bruce Livingston, with finding a clever solution. He followed a hunch about a bourbon base, and then added very, very subtle chocolate undertones with crème de cacao and Aztec bitters.
In fact, Jennifer doles out credit effusively, whether speaking about her staff, her colleagues at the Dorrance and Seven Stars (who offered input and led tastings), or West End denizens, whom she praises as remarkably welcoming. Apparently, sin is very in.
Black Forest – Serves One
The Sin team alternates between bourbon and rye depending upon the customer’s palate. Rye imparts more smokiness than standard bourbon, for instance, and the Mad River brand that they like also has back notes of maple. As for the cherries, they house-cure their own with Luxardo. Time-saving home bartenders can pick some up at Whole Foods or online, adding a bit of “sloth” to the sinful mix.
• 2 oz whiskey
(Mad River Revolution rye or
Four Roses bourbon)
• 1/2 oz Luxardo
• 1 oz crème de cacao
• 6 dashes of Aztec chocolate
• Luxardo cherries
• Orange peel for garnish
In a cocktail shaker or tall glass filled with ice, add all ingredients but the orange peel. Stir to blend, then strain into an Old Fashioned glass with fresh ice. Garnish with the orange peel and a cherry – or two.
1413 Westminster Street