Ladies and Gents, meet Mixologist Navarro Carr!
In the third installment of Cocktails With Ale, I had to hit up my local hot spot in Atlanta, Georgia's Old Fourth Ward, The Sound Table, to see what their extremely talented mixologist Navarro Carr could come up with using the original Cathead Vodka as a main ingredient. Of course, the rules are quite simple—you must use a craft brew in the concoction. That’s it! Now some beer cocktails have been less than palatable in the past, but every one of the mixes I have had during the Cocktails Series (see Mercedes O'Brien now with Gunshow here and Argosy's Armando Celentano here) have been fantastic. Will Navarro keep the success streak alive with his drink called "Tropical Death"? Hell yes!
During an extraordinarily time when Sound Table wasn't packed (because it was closed), Navarro met me around noon to open the doors, make his drink in front of my eyes, and further solidify his reputation of being one of Atlanta’s most creative bartenders in the industry.
First, here are Mr. Carr’s ingredients for his brainchild followed by a quick Q & A on his background and how he came up with this absolutely delicious concoction:
Cathead Vodka (infused with a coconut oolong tea for about 90 minutes)
Pinch of Curry Power
Add all ingredients to a mixing glass and dry shake for 2-3 minutes. Add ice and shake for 25-30 seconds. Double strain into a cocktail glass.
Ale: Give us a quick breakdown on who Navarro is.
Navarro Carr: Sure! I was born in New York, but I’ve been raised here in Atlanta. My first bartending job making craft cocktails was at Trois, which unfortunately is now closed. I've been here at the Sound Table for the last four years.
Okay, off the bat, why the name Tropical Death?
The coconut oolong tea and pineapple syrup definitely add tropical elements to this cocktail. With the addition of beer and absinthe, I felt like the drink name needed to also have a serious part to let people know that it’s very complex, too. As for the name, drinks usually have happy names. I wanted to shake things up a little bit!
What made you choose the Victory Prima Pils, which is arguably the best American interpretation of the traditional German Pilsner [5.3%}?
The Victory Prima Pils helped add brightness which the cocktail needed because there’s no citrus juice. The hops also added more depth to the cocktail.
I can dig it. I see you made a Cathead Vodka infusion. Nice! You are the first to do that. Break that down.
I infused the Cathead Vodka with a coconut oolong tea because I liked the sweetness of the vodka, as well as its neutrality in flavor. The vodka really married well with the tannins and flavor of the tea.
I totally agree. This cocktail is absolutely fabulous. This is a very tropical, yet not overly sweet cocktail. The bitterness from—well—the grapefruit bitters and Prima Pils helped balance out the coconut and pineapple flavors. I also love how the touch of curry gave it a subtle, but very delectable hint of spiciness. The egg added a nice frothiness and gave the Death body. I am honestly blown away because I really didn’t know what to expect when I saw the ingredients. Awesome job, bro!
Thanks Ale for challenging me to make a beer cocktail! I had a lot of fun with this one!
You got it my brother. Keep pouring that goodness. I hope a lot of folks reading this will be ordering Tropical Death to see how good this drink is! Oh, and please give [Owner] Karl Injex and his wifey a shout out for me. I will be over there to party and get my dance on soon!
You got it!
Oh, and speaking of partying, Sound Table is celebrating their 4th anniversary in style on Saturday Night, May 17th featuring Japan's own DJ Shuya Okino. Here is the slick flyer. Happy birthday!