Natalie’s award-winning bartender deconstructs the 207 Sour
CAMDEN — In one week, the Midcoast has gotten more than 24 inches of snow. So, if you’re looking for a knock-your-boots-off cocktail for New Year’s Eve, here’s an ambitious drink created by Seth Knowlton, bar manager for Natalie’s Restaurant in Camden. It’s called the 207 Sour, a sour martini made with Applejack (a whiskey made from apples), along with a sharbat (a homemade concoction of Red Delicious apple peels marinated with lemon).
It was time to feature Natalie’s again in this series. To say they are on a roll lately is an understatement. Recently, Camden Harbour Inn/Natalie’s melded their brand with Relais & Chateaux, a world-wide brand known for extraordinary hospitality and culinary achievements. This is the highest level in hospitality internationally, and only two Maine restaurants have become members of Relais & Chateaux.
Additionally this year, their chef, Chris Long, won the Maine Lobster Chef of the Year competition and Knowlton was voted Maine’s Bartender of the Year by maine.eater.com.
“I was a little shocked,” said Knowlton. “I’m just a small-town Camden, Maine, boy. But I’ve been around, been bartending all along the way. I work with a lot of talented people here, so you pick up on it if you’re willing to.”
The 207 Sour is Knowlton’s original creation and the sour notes in the martini don’t come from any commercial sour mix, but instead, from a complex layer of lemon juice, a deep apple flavor and the tang from the balsamic vinegar in the sharbat.
“The Red Delicious apple peels take three weeks to make to get that deep red color. It’s really cool, because it’s a labor of love. It tastes unlike anything you’ve ever tried. It hits a part of your palate that’s rarely explored,” said Knowlton.
The cocktail is built in a pint glass with:
“If anyone’s worried about using an egg white in the cocktail, it’s like a ceviche, which uses raw fish and lime juice,” said Knolwton. “In the same manner, the lemon juice in this cocktail neutralizes the egg white and makes it safe to drink.”
For anyone interested in re-creating this cocktail at home, it takes some time and dedication. Knowlton’s sharbat recipe is not an exact science, he says. (Take a large container and two cups water, two cups balsamic vinegar, ¾ cups of sugar and mix with the peels from five Red Delicious apples. Let sit for about two weeks.)
Or, to get the full exotic experience, simply slip into one of the velvet red bar stools at Natalie’s, take in the beautiful twinkling lights on the pine trees inside the restaurant this season and have Knowlton craft one for you. Take a sip. Ain’t life grand?
Kay Stephens can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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