Friday, November 27, 2009

Barcode: Burtons Grill

It’s the day after Thanksgiving, so it’s probably safe to say you’ve met (and surpassed) your quota of eating and drinking for the moment. But since we usually gorge ourselves on turkey and stuffing, there’s never any room left for the best part afterward: the pumpkin pies, cranberry and apple desserts, cinnamon spiced ciders, and warm rum drinks. By Friday, the last thing most of us want to do is go out to eat, but the craving for holiday flavors lingers. The seasonal cocktail menu at Burtons Grill provides a chance to savor some of the ingredients - without sitting down with a plate full of food.

“We’re using cranberries, cinnamon, ginger, apple cider, and pumpkin in sort of a comfort food approach to it,’’ bartender Chris Little says. “Things people are familiar with this time of year. We’re being a little more adventurous with it, but it’s also accessible.’’

The Spiced Berry Kir Royale (pureed berries, cinnamon, Grand Marnier, Domaine Chandon, cranberry and pomegranate juice, $9), for example. Fizzy and thick with fresh fruit, but light enough to drink on an already full stomach, this is made with a puree of blackberries, strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries and organic pomegranate juice. The cinnamon comes from the bar’s homemade cinnamon simple syrup. A splash of organic cranberry juice adds a dry tartness.

Cranberries also figure into the Cranberry Apple Cider Rum Punch (Captain Morgan, Van Gogh Applefest, house-made cranberry apple cider, Myer’s dark rum, cinnamon sugar, $9, below). Little adds cinnamon, cloves, and orange peel to the cider before simmering. A floater of dark rum brings a little smokiness to the mix. For a garnish he recycles the byproduct of a cranberry infused with rum. “It’s like eating spiked cranberries.’’

The Baked Apple (cinnamon and caramel apples, Leblon cachaca, lime, brown sugar, $9) is deceiving. It’s made from the same apples they use to make an apple crisp dessert, which are then muddled with lime and brown sugar and a caramel syrup, but it’s a light, refreshing New England take on a South American staple. Same idea behind the Spiced Cider Mojito (Captain Morgan, Stoli Gala Applik, apple cider, green apple puree, muddled lime, cinnamon and ginger, $9). The cinnamon simple syrup turns up here in place of sugar, and instead of soda Little uses a splash of ginger ale. “It’s to get those warm flavors from the spice of it,’’ he says. It’s a tricky balance of sweet and tart here, but it mostly works.

Didn’t have room for dessert yesterday? Try the Pumpkin Martini (house-made pumpkin puree, Stoli Vanil, $9). Yes, every bar has one now, but, says Little, “This tastes like real pumpkin as opposed to a lot of places that make it with a pumpkin syrup or pumpkin liqueurs.’’ He’s right, it’s thick, wholesome, and creamy.

And while we usually shy away from whipped cream on cocktails because it melts and sours so quickly, the hand-whipped stuff here is fluffy and solid and cold and maintains its shape throughout. It’s used again in the Irish Coffee (Jameson 12 year, brown sugar, coffee, $8), but in this case the cream is hand-whipped to order with Guinness and Navan vanilla cognac. “You get those nice vanilla notes and the Guinness gives it those smoky chocolate notes,’’ he says.

Guinness, coffee, and Jameson, it’s a trio our Irish family certainly knows its way around on the holidays. Maybe that’s what we need to help pull out of this Thanksgiving food coma.

Burtons Grill , 1363 Boylston St., Boston. 617-236-2236.

Boston Globe

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