Taste


Singing a Botanical Tune

At Naples’ The London Club jazz lounge, bartenders serve up this cocktail in which cucumber mellows the fruit-forward vodka to be right on pitch.

Like with live music, there are some drinks that compel you to stand up and clap, or at least do a silent happy dance in your seat. One such Naples drink is the Flowery Branch, a cocktail reminiscent of a cucumber martini but with proprietary notes of fruit and flora.

The libation has been a fixture on the menus of renowned restaurateur Peter Tierney’s two Bellasera Resort locales: The Claw Bar, a genteel Southern seafood den with a sleek supper club feel, and The London Club, its sister jazz lounge that debuted to a standing ovation last season.

The London Club was designed to be a venue for nightly live music amplified by an extensive wine and cocktail list and shared plates with an eclectic array of global influences. During the pandemic, the tune has changed—the cabaret acts were put on pause and the tables were socially distanced. But they’re still serving The Claw Bar’s menu of acclaimed oysters and other delicacies with a distinct Lowcountry flair (think: blackened shrimp with pimento cheese grits and collards).

Once it’s safe to do so, the intention is to switch back to the original format, bringing in acts such as the British piano funnyman Jimmy Keys. Until then or if you’re still not venturing out too much, take in the Flowery Branch’s harmonious sips at home. Its’ fresh, muddled cucumber balances a floral liqueur and a fruit-forward vodka distilled from grapes with a grappa-esque kick. No one will stop you from singing or dancing in your seat.

 

The London Club and The Claw Bar’s Flowery Branch

  • 1/4 medium cucumber
  • 2 ounces Cooranbong Australian vodka or any vodka of your choice
  • 3/4 ounce St-Germain elderflower liqueur
  • Splash of freshly squeezed lime juice
  • Splash of simple syrup, preferably homemade

 

  1. Slice cucumber into three thick rounds and one thin round; reserve round for a garnish. Place rest in a cocktail shaker. Using a muddler, pestle or the back of a wooden spoon, muddle cucumber.
  2. Add remaining ingredients to the cocktail shaker. Fill with ice and shake vigorously.
  3. Strain cocktail into a martini glass. Balance reserved cucumber wheel on the side of the glass.

 

Photography by Tina Sargeant