Monday evening Tim Niver and staff hosted a party to celebrate the launch of Joia sodas, the new effervescent beverage with all-natural ingredients developed by resident mixologist and onetime City Pages Best Bartender Dan Oskey. The kitchen created dishes to pair with each of the distinctively flavored sodas.
Niver poured glass after glass of the sodas straight, as well as a few cocktails spiked with the Strip Club's usual flair, using recipes authored by Oskey.
The four sodas came about when Boundary Water Brand founder Bob Safford mused that while mixologists were infusing alcohols with herbs and tinkering with bitters, nonalcoholic offerings floundered in the wasteland of high-fructose corn syrup and coffee sludge. After testing over 100 herb, spice, and fruit flavor combinations, they decided on four flavors of sodas.
[jump] The four flavors are a careful balance of tart, sweet, and herbaceous--complex and refreshing. They are pineapple, coconut, nutmeg; lime, hibiscus, clove; grapefruit, camomile, cardamom; and blackberry, pomegranate, ginger. The lime soda has wafting floral notes from the hibiscus, with just a small husky bottom note of clove, reminiscent of a high-end perfume and tasting like a soft country morning. The grapefruit and jaunty cardamom offer spice notes with just the right amount of tartness from the grapefruit, without a trace of pucker. The pineapple, coconut, and nutmeg soda was a natural match for a little spiced rum but retained its subtlety, never getting too near the Banana Boat sunscreen set. The blackberry and pomegranate carries the sophistication of a Don Draper suit.
Being the fine booze purveyor that he is, Oskey was kind enough to share with us one of his excellent cocktails. When asked what the story behind the cocktail name was, he demured and shrugged. It's just a little something he came up with.
1 oz vodka
1/4 oz Domaine Canton de Ginger Liqueur
1 oz lemonade
Top with Lime, Hibiscus, and Clove Joia soda