Alexa Bowler’s “Ponchatoula Smash” hits all the New Orleans notes, featuring Louisiana strawberries and locally made Cocktail & Sons syrup. Bowler arrived in New Orleans on a James Beard culinary leadership scholarship to work at Commander’s Palace. Though her managerial role was prestigious, she missed being behind the bar. “As an artist, I need a creative, hands-on position.” Bowler has worked at iconic venues like Arnaud’s French 75 and the Sazerac Bar. She notes that in those places, “Tourists come for their idea of a classic New Orleans experience, which includes drinks like a Vieux Carre or Sazerac. They don’t really want to step out of the box.” As a member of the reopening team at Emeril’s, she hopes to encourage both locals and visitors alike to embrace both traditional and newer flavors of the city. “Covid was an unprecedented time, which gave people an opportunity to review.” Whether its work practices or drink orders, both are always worth a second look.
1 ounce Bourbon
0.75 ounce strawberry puree (see below)
0.75 ounce Cocktail & Sons Mint and Lemon Verbena syrup
Garnishes: mint, strawberries and spiced sugar (see below)
Place all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake until chilled, about 10 seconds. Strain into a Collins glass or Julep cup. Garnish with mint and strawberries and sprinkle spiced powdered sugar on top.
Strawberry puree: Place strawberries in a blender or juicer and puree. Strain through a fine strainer to remove all seeds.
Spiced sugar: Grate one nutmeg, a half of one cinnamon stick and mix with one cup powdered sugar.
- You can lighten the drink with some sparkling wine or soda. A splash of Lillete would also be a nice addition.
- Feel free to use a less expensive bourbon as its complexity may be masked by the other flavors.
- Sonic and some grocery stores (like Breaux Mart) offer pebble ice for sale, or you can buy an inexpensive ice crusher. Do not try to make it in your blender or food processor, as they will merely melt the ice.