by Josh Seaburg
It takes only a moment of chatting about cocktails with Priscilla Gregoire to see that she loves what she’s pouring – and whom she’s pouring it for.
Priscilla, or “Super P” as she’s affectionately known, has worked for a number of bars in the area, but she really found her stride after joining the staff at Chow, where she learned the craft under then-owner Stephan Stockwell.
Now the bar manager, Gregoire keeps a rotating menu full of her experiments with flavors, including The Pagoda, a lovely coral-colored drink with a rich head of foam from egg white.
The base spirit is Cointreau. This orange liqueur typically is a secondary ingredient but here it fits well in the mix, bolstered by Aperol, orange marmalade and nigori sake, an unfiltered variety. True to Super P’s style, it has a light body yet remarkable presence of flavor. Each ingredient is identifiable and blends seamlessly into the next. It’s light and bright enough for summer but has a depth that lends itself well to cooler weather.
The Pagoda was inspired by one of the last days Gregoire spent with her father. The two visited the USS Wisconsin in downtown Norfolk and walked through the Pagoda park, where the cherry blossoms had just begun to bloom.
The cocktail is finished with a custom-stenciled koi fish – a symbol of strength of purpose. Gregoire says it came to her in a recurring dream of that day with her father, a dream that always ended with her staring at the koi pond.
Josh Seaburg has established several award-winning bar programs and a series of innovative pop-ups, high-lighting elaborate cocktails and food from local chefs. He tends bar at Crudo Nudo in Norfolk.
1 ounce Cointreau
¾ ounce nigori sake
½ ounce Aperol
½ ounce fresh lemon juice
¼ ounce honey syrup
3 drops orange blossom water
1 teaspoon orange marmalade
1 egg white
Combine all ingredients in a tin, dry shake (without ice) to emulsify the egg white, then add ice and shake again. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.