There are probably some people who don't like the word verdant, but it's an apt descriptor for this cocktail. Not only is it a joyous shade of green, dare I say chartreuse, but it smacks of many a garden's delights, or at least well-stocked bar's garnish station.
Gin, already the most botanical of all spirits, melds Hendricks' medley of juniper (natch) along with a heavy hit of cucumber plus berries, roses and dried citrus.
The Botanist is then further enlivened by tangy lime juice and a house syrup comprised of spicy serrano, tingly ginger and herbal cilantro. All the better to pair with sushi and other modern Japanese cuisine crafted by Chef Sascha Lyon.
The drink's creator, Zack Ottesen, who has mixologized across L.A. and Seattle, designed this to enhance the food (and the cocktail menu, on the whole), even knowing some cocktail enthusiasts who think they have an aversion to gin.
"This one took a bit to put together. It's all about having the correct balance," states Ottesen, who likens it to "an elevated gimlet." If this is what he came up with out of the gates, imagine what Ottesen will concoct for next year's Best of Central Oregon consideration.
Five Fusion Modern Japanese Bar & Restaurant
821 NW Wall St. #100, Bend
Open daily 4-9pm
Second place: Sassy Local, Drake