Jon Taffer is the star of Bar Rescue, a reality show revolving around saving failing bars of all stripes. I first noticed that his concept greatly differed from other fix-up and reveal shows, because although — or maybe because — he’s been a globally renowned presence in the hospitality business, he brings other experts in to assist with the rescues.
My respect grew when he brought onboard a fantastically talented chef to work with bars’ food programs who I am proud to have discovered in his early days in Louisville, Anthony Lamas.
Taffer has created a line of hard seltzers that have low alcohol, low carb, no sugar, but lots of flavor: Taffer’s Mixologist Sparkling Craft Cocktail. I was happy to be hosted to experience it!
The flavors were created by Taffer from successful drinks developed for bars.
Cucumber Jalapeno immediately engages your senses: there’s a fresh cucumber aroma as you pop the top. It has a clean flavor, mild carbonation — it won’t make you burpy. I tasted crisp cucumber, hint of jalapeno heat. There’s the tiniest touch of sweetness. Very refreshing!
It livens up and freshens up Bloody Marys.
This is a particularly food-friendly flavor. You can make tomato aspic with gelatin and tomato or veggie juice, substituting the Cucumber Jalapeno for the cold water. Optionally, beat in whipped cream cheese and a dollop of mayo. Let chill in a glass baking dish. This is a terrific side garnish with chilled shrimp or lump crab served on crisp greens: kind of a deconstructed Crab Louis .
Pineapple Coconut has a fresh aroma. There’s true coconut and pineapple fruit flavor, not candy-like. Of course, use it to lighten up a pina colada or any tiki drink. Make a cool cocktail with fruit ice tea.
Garnish with a slice of pineapple just on its own! If you can grow pineapple mint, which I haven’t been super lucky at, it would also make a great garnish.
I would say this is the perfect accompaniment to ceviche or steamed lobster.
Grapefruit Moon has a fresh tart juice aroma and a clean fresh fruit flavor. It cuts through rich, creamy sauces more than red wine: consider freezing it as an amuse bouche palette cleanser during a sumptuous dinner. I’d suggest garnishing a tall Collins or Highball glass with heirloom Florida sweet white grapefruit wheels: they’re sweet enough to enhance, but not so unsubtle as to be dessert.
Cherry Lime is that classic “Rickey” flavor. It’s balanced between the two flavors of cherry and lime. It’s not sweet, but very fruit forward. It creates an easy mixed drink with rum, gin or vodka. It’s good with BBQ!
Strawberry Basil Has a super ripe berry nose. If you’re wondering what a berry with an herb commonly used here in savory dishes tastes like, it’s a great combo! Last year, I actually was on a strawberry basil tea cake baking kick . . . I had to stop, because I was loving it too much! The flavors here are fresh strawberry, just picked sweet basil (there are many varieties of basil). It’s naturally sweeter. It’s a fun toasting drink! I like it with Italian food. Here’s a drink idea: it’s great to cut limoncello with, because sometimes that thick, lemon liqueur is a bit heavy on its own.
Elderflower has a juicy white grape nose and chamomile like flower flavor, but not sweet. My local French bistro incorporates elderflower liqueur and champagne in a house drink. This is an easy version of that! It’s like a dry white wine spritzer, but lighter and less boozy. It’s a good aperitif to stimulate the appetite.
California Lime has a clean nose, but zesty, juicy flavor. Get your bottle of gin out: this is an instant G & T, but more fun. I suggest it with Mexican, Vietnamese or Thai food.