Last night at the Ryan Barnett underground dinner I was served by a familiar face. Ashley Williams who I had seen previously as bartender at several restaurants including Bailey’s and now Bistro 31 where she met chef Ryan. Ashley is this fantastic bartender who worked under one of the local cocktail masters, Lucky Campbell.
While she was just perfect at pouring our BYOB wine and settling up the silverware for each course, I had something else in mind for the young bartender.
I had brought along a few bottles of wine to share with the table, and also a mason jar of Old Smoky Moonshine, this terrific 100 proof un-aged corn whiskey made from grain grown by local farmers in East Tennessee. The white elixir is readily used in any recipe where you might want vodka, gin or tequila.
Along with the Moonshine I had a 4-pack of Fever Tree ginger ale that I originally thought I would mix table side and share with everyone dining last night. But there was an opportunity afoot and I wasn’t about to let this wrangle by.
I asked Ashley to make us a cocktail with anything she could find in the kitchen but had to use the ginger ale and the moonshine. As any bartender tasked with such an opportunity, she smiled and ran into the kitchen to come up with something special.
First Ashley nabbed some professional tools from her car and began her work.
For dinner we were served a dish that included a peach gastric. She thought to use this along with some fresh nutmeg and the Iron Chef ingredients I handed her. The result was this light sparkling peach concoction that was smooth and refreshing.
The group decided to call the drink a Fuzzy Moon. We toasted the chef and later howled at the moon with pleasure.
You can visit Ashley next week at the new Boulevardier that is opening in the Bishop Arts District where she will be behind the bar. Ask for a Fuzzy Moon, and tip her well.