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A Citrus-Free Cocktail Menu at Bulrush in St Louis

St. Louis restaurant Bulrush features "Ozark cuisine" and an extremely low-waste ethos, including ingredients in the cocktail program. The press release states:

Bulrush-35From house-made cider plus vinegars/shrubs made with gathered local ingredients like pawpaws, spicebush and okra, unlikely spirit infusions like stinging nettle cordial, brown butter-washed rum and Chanterelle mushroom whiskey, as well as the savory incorporation of items like chicken stock for their "Chicken Soup for the Grown Up Soul” drink and more, the cocktails and spirit-free options at this local hot spot are worth taking a closer look at. The most interesting aspect perhaps is that nothing on the menu exists without a historical reference from that time period which would justify its place. For example, there are no lemons behind the bar because the fruit did not become available to the area until later in the 1900s. Vinegar was however, hence Bulrush’s use of a variety of vinegars, kombucha and kefir all made in house that serve as substitutes for sour components.

Below I have pasted the cocktail menu, and in [brackets] there is more information about a few of the drinks including whey caramel. I bolded some of the sour ingredients that replace citrus juice in the drinks, as that's where things are very interesting. 

Bulrush Cocktails:

Groundwork - Shishito Infused blanco tequila, okra/shishito kombucha, bourbon barrel-aged walnut sap vinegar, mint

Pure Coincidence - Pisco, shiso-infused dry vermouth, Salers Apertif, pawpaw syrup

In the Gales - Apple macerated bourbon, anise, honey, spicebush [This is a built drink and only contains alcohol and sugar, no acid.]

Almost Affogato - Brown butter-infused 3x rum, whey caramel, Cardamaro, nocino/black walnut liqueur [Whey caramel was a by-product from the kitchen. Typically, we have a bit of leftover whey from other projects, and you can make caramel from it. The texture is thick, viscous and produces a sweet, tangy caramel, making it a great addition to this dessert cocktail. I've used in a number of ways but it's importance is really to our Zero Waste commitment. Because we make so much yogurt we have a lot of whey in the kitchen. Lately we've been making a number of whey fermented/carbonated sodas, but we also make the caramel. Whey has some of the natural dairy sugars in it, and I add some of my own, boil it down until it becomes a tangy (from the yogurt) caramel.]

Black Goblin - Rye foraged infused Averna, house-made nocino, hibiscus/sumac bitters

Chicken Soup for the Grown Up Soul - Chanterelle whiskey, okra shrub, chicken stock, barrel-aged hot sauce

Midwest Margarita - Cimarron Tequila, strawberry kefir, mint, sour [All of our kombuchas and kefirs are made in-house. This drink is served over ice. I was inspired by Death & Co and Dave Arnold to experiment with alternative acids. While you can use them for various reasons such as replacement of acids, seasoning, and/or adjustments to cocktails, I used a combination of acids to balance and brighten the strawberry kefir and foraged mint.]

Curse of Gin - Stinging Nettle Cordial, 1220 Origin Gin, dry vermouth


Spirit-Free (House-made spirit-free cocktail that includes foraged ingredients):

Lindera Lavender - Spicebush tea, lavender kombucha, lemon balm, honey

Ginny GoLightly - Monday Gin (NA), honey, mint syrup, salted bergamot, carrot kombucha

Simple Things - Strawberry kefir, smoked sumac

Foolin’ Me - WellBeing brew, foraged tisane, honey syrup, white wine reduction

House-made Soda - Passionfruit, anise hyssop


They also sent over a recipe for the In The Gales. 

In the Gales

Photos: Courtesy Bulrush

2.25 apple-macerated bourbon*
.5 honey/anise syrup
Dashes of angostura and allspice tincture***

Place all ingredients into a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain over a rocks glass with a large rock.

*Cut up 2-3 apples and let sit in 750ml bottle of bourbon for several days. Taste and stir daily. After about 5 to 7 days it should be ready. Strain, bottle, refrigerate. It will keep for about a month.

**Mix equal parts honey and warm water. Add star anise to the container and let it infuse for 24 to 48 hours, tasting for preference. Strain and refrigerate syrup.

***You can certainly sub a bit of allspice dram for this, but here's how to make your own:
1 c rum
4 T whole allspice
1 ea cinnamon stick
1 1/2 c water
2/3 c brown sugar

1. Crush allspice to get large, coarse pieces.
2. Pour rum into a sealable container over the allspice. Shake daily for 3-4 days. Add cinnamon stick and continue shaking daily for another 4 days.
3. Strain solids from liquid, using a coffee filter or cheesecloth to ensure fully strained of particles.