If you’ve ever sat at a restaurant’s bar for longer than 30 minutes, you know that it’s more than a hub for local gossip, it’s also a creative platform in its own right.
Have you ever wondered what it’s like on the other side of the bar? In this piece we take a step behind the bar and chat with local bartenders and mixologists about one of their favorite drinks of the moment.
First up – South on Main’s David Burnette and his creation – The Good Christian.
The cocktail contains Purkhart Pear Williams, fresh local honey, lemon juice, and a touch of Herbsaint. The name – The Good Christian – comes from ‘bon Chretien’ in French, the common name for Bartlett pears which make up the brandy that anchors this crisp, drink.
Burnette thanks his friend and locally known Lee Edwards, an icon in the Little Rock beverage industry, for turning him onto the distributing company known as Haus Allpenz. Through them, he found the pear brandy and knew it needed to be in a cocktail.
He says, “This particular product is one of the best things I’ve tasted in a long time. I do consider myself pretty knowledgeable when it comes to spirits, but this thing, as soon as I tasted it, I was like, man, this is what moonshine should be. … This is real, these are real pears that were pressed and distilled by somebody that cared – cared enough to get their fruit, and get their fruit freshly.”
And even though Burnette is a fan of heavier, obtuse, “bartender style cocktails” himself, he knew the pear brandy offered him the opportunity to create a simple, approachable cocktail.
And, boy, did he. One sip is like biting into a fresh pear. What’s more, it’s like experiencing standing in a garden on a sweet, spring morning and watching the sunrise, all through your taste buds.
I’m not exaggerating. Try it for yourself.
When putting the cocktail together, Burnette says he was focused on keeping the pear taste pure. He explains, “I wanted to present it well, but I didn’t want to overpower it, I didn’t want to change it.”
Thus, he landed on high quality ingredients with the use of the local honey and fresh lemon juice. Also, the anise from the Herbsaint curbs the overall taste and, as Burnette says, “reminds you that it’s not a fake, fruity drink.”
In a world where the liquor store is full of an overwhelming amount of fake flavors, it’s refreshing to have a cocktail that is exactly the opposite – full of natural flavor.
Burnette says, “Every once and a while you have to remember what a cocktail is supposed to be – simple, easy. … Anyone can enjoy it. I could sell this to any female, any male, any demographic.”
The concoction isn’t on the menu just yet, but Burnette can make you one if you just ask. He’s pretty stoked for people to try it, which says a lot, as he’s been in the business for a long time.
He says, “I do think that every once and a while you just hit a homerun by looking at things at organically, comfortably, and how things are supposed to go flavor-wise. And to me, this is one of those things. This will make my greatest hits albums in my opinion.”