McGrale's Bullhorn (Tavern Road)

Alexis Jesup

Tenzin Samdo describes McGrale’s Bullhorn as “the gateway to a Tavern Road cocktail.” The beverage director, known for his playful garnishes and social media presence (a scroll through @bostonmixdrink on Instagram is never dull), sought to pair his cocktail program with Tavern Road’s menu of  “globally inspired street food” by utilizing ingredients like Sichuan peppercorns and garam masala.

A twist on The Gold Rush (an easy-drinking combination of bourbon, lemon juice, and honey), McGrale’s Bullhorn tweaks the formula with a hint of flavorful yellow Chartreuse and a syrup that makes use of honey, saffron, and cardamom.

The result is refreshing—chilled bourbon, citrus, and honey can have that effect. But it also features a fascinating savory note thanks to the spiced syrup. It’s the sort of drink that instantly wins you over with its simple goodness, then surprises you with its complexity.

It’s more than just a cocktail, though; it’s also a tribute to Ryan McGrale, the restaurant’s former bartender who passed away in 2015. Samdo serves it with a dried rose garnish—the bartending equivalent of leaving flowers at a grave marker—and drinkers sip the homage underneath McGrale’s actual bullhorn. We think he’d be proud.

McGrale’s Bullhorn

1¾ ounces Four Roses Bourbon
2 teaspoons Yellow Chartreuse
1 ounce lemon juice
1 ounce saffron-cardamom syrup*

Combine ingredients in shaker filled with ice and shake well for ten seconds. Strain twice and serve in martini glass.

*Saffron-Cardamom Syrup (yields 2 cups)

3 cups water
2 cups honey
10 cardamom pods
1 teaspoon saffron

Bring water to boil in a saucepan. Once water is reduced to 2 cups, add honey, cardamom, and saffron. Stir to dissolve, then remove from heat, let cool, and strain out cardamom pods. Syrup will keep for two weeks, refrigerated.

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