This past show season, we at Cocktails, 365 were honored to be chosen as the bar manager for a new venture in a historic western Kansas town. You see, we’re in Dodge City, Kansas with writers in Chicago and Toronto. But, Dodge City is still Cocktails, 365’s home. There’s a beautiful jewel of metropolitan culture in downtown Dodge. It’s the Depot Theater Company, which we have mentioned on these hallowed pages before.
One of the defining characteristics of the theater, apart from its professional-level productions, is the gourmet-level food that’s served. Several years ago the company decided to take advantage of the old hotel bar area that had been included in the multi-million dollar restoration and start serving beer and wine. Beer and wine evolved into basic cocktails.
Then, this year, they brought Cocktails, 365 on as the bar manager. And, with the help experienced local mixologist Lee Griffith, the featured cocktail of the show began to take off. Cocktails were paired with the meals, and often times would find partners in liquor brands that tied in to the shows that were being produced.
We’re into our second season behind the bar, and are thrilled to announce a partnership that really seems too good to be true. You see, a little over a year ago some investors from Dodge City and the Kansas City area got together and created the idea of the Dodge City Distillery. This new, all-local distillery would focus on the bloody-but-fascinating history of Dodge City. The first distillery and restaurant opened in Olathe, a swank suburb of Kansas City, in one of the richest counties in the US.
It was an instant hit, with excellent food and – more importantly in our minds – excellent in-house spirits.
So, it only made sense with the Dodge City connection – along with the love of fine food and drink – that Imbibe! at the Depot Theater would partner with the distillery.
Our first partnership of the season came during our annual cabaret – Dodge City Days Turn Into Dodge City Nights.
Quick Kansas history lesson – there are two massive festivals that take place each year in Kansas. The biggest is in Wichita, the annual Riverfest. The second biggest is Dodge City Days. It’s a celebration of all things western, culminating in a professional rodeo. However, if all that western gets to be just a bit too much for you, the Depot Theater offers it’s cabaret. A beautiful little slice of New York City in this rough-and-tumble cowtown.\
Naturally, as late-July/early-August in Dodge City brings brain-meltingly high temperatures we wanted to created something that would be light, delicate, and refreshing, but still stand-up to the bevy of hors d’oeuvres that would be served prior to the singing.
Stocked with bottles of Dodge City Distillery Miss Kitty’s Velvet Vodka (and an abundance of herbs, fruits, and vegetables from the Cocktails, 365 garden) we set out to create the perfect mix of class and “oomph” required to meet patron’s expectations.
- 2 oz Dodge City Distillery Miss Kitty’s Velvet Vodka infused with cucumber
- 3 oz fresh pear nectar
- 1 dash lime cordial
- 1 dash peach schnapps
- One paper-thin sliced cucumber medallion for garnish
Combine all the ingredients except the garnish in a shaker filled to the top with crushed ice. Shake thoroughly, at least 30 seconds, until the shaker is too cold to hold and you get a nice froth on the top. Strain into a chilled martini glass and then garnish with the thin-sliced cucumber medallion.
Some extra tips on how to get the ingredients just right.
Cucumber Infused Vodka:
1 liter Dodge City Miss Kitty’s Velvet Vodka
1/2 english cucumber sliced into slivers. Test for bitterness before infusing. Place in large glass vessel with vodka, let steep for 24 to 48 hours.
Three large bijou pears through a fruit juicer makes about 3/4 of a cup of pear nectar.