Saffron's bar is romantically lit, filled with deep saturated hues and best of all a place to cozy up and get a fine cocktail. The person newly in charge of making sure that the mood and the drinks stay top-notch is Nikola Govich, an alum of Bradstreet Craftshouse, Meritage, and Eat Street Social (not to mention an Irish beer and shot joint in NYC).
He recently took over for friend and former colleague Robb Jones, who made the leap to Spoon and Stable. Govich has debuted a few new libations but has not shaken things up entirely. As he settles in, we thought it was a good time to pay a visit and find out what's in his Old Fashioned glass right now.
See also: Best Chef Minneapolis 2013 Sameh Wadi
What's in your glass? Nikola Govich: A Vieux Carré
While out, he often keeps it simple (like many bartenders do) by ordering beers. But, he explains, the Vieux Carré is good to get at a bar, as one usually doesn't have all the necessary ingredients hanging around the house. According to Govich there are many local taverns that do the rye-based drink justice and is quick to give props to the Twin Cities craft cocktail scene and its many talented mixologists.
The Vieux Carré is a New Orleans classic, named for the very neighborhood (The French Quarter) where it was created in the 1930s. It packs a punch proof-wise but goes down smooth and easy. While Govich is a traditionalist about using Angostura and Peychaud's to make what he considers a true Vieux Carré, he says that others (like Marco Zappia) like to update the type of bitters used in this recipe.
Vieux Carré 1 ounce Rittenhouse Rye 1 ounce Pierre Ferrand 1840 Cognac 1 ounce Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth 1/4 ounce Bénédictine 2 dashes Angostura Bitters 2 dashes Peychaud's Bitters Orange twist
Combine all liquids in a mixing glass and stir. Strain and pour into an Old Fashioned glass containing a large ice cube. Garnish with an orange twist. Can be served up without an ice cube in a cocktail glass as well.
But why go through the hassle? Meet Govich at the serene oasis known as Saffron and enjoy a Vieux Carré along with some of Sameh Wadi's lovely Mediterranean food. The Norman, Oklahoma native can talk libations, living in Stillwater, and even what it's like to coach his kid's basketball team.
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