by Josh Seaburg
Greg White has made a career of making things. A former homebrewer, florist and shipbuilder, he’s always had a passion for assembling parts to create something greater. Now he builds drinks from unique and often homemade ingredients as the bar manager for Town Center Cold Pressed Roastery.
TCCPR – often called “The Roastery” – is a coffee roaster/café/cocktail lounge in Norfolk’s Ghent. The brand has been around for years and the owners eagerly selected White – known for his uniquely DIY pop-up, Mr. McGregor’s Cocktail Shed, at Toast – to bring his innovative (and boozy) spin to their coffee, tea, kombucha and cold-pressed juice products.
White turns a classic Irish coffee on its head, combining Irish whiskey with cold brew coffee syrup and Peychaud’s bitters. The twist is a flavored ice sphere made from TCCP’s proprietary pistachio “mylk.” The combination of pistachio milk and a secret blend of spices is aerated and frozen into a sphere, which transforms the drink as it melts from a boozy coffee old-fashioned into a playful spiced latte. It’s a well-thought-out beverage that rewards patience.
Follow White on Facebook and Instagram @MrMcGregorNFK, and look out for his Mr. McGregor’s Cocktail Shed pop-ups at Toast in Norfolk.
2 ounces Slane Irish Whiskey
½ ounce cold brew syrup (made from equal parts cold brew concentrate and demerara sugar)
2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass. Add ice and stir. Strain over a pistachio “mylk” sphere.
For the pistachio “mylk” sphere:
Pour pistachio “mylk” (available at all Town Center Cold Pressed
locations) into a shaker. Shake without ice to aerate, and pour into an ice ball mold. Freeze overnight or until solid. For people with nut allergies, whole milk can be substituted.
Peychaud’s bitters: 148 milliliters of history
Although it may not the best-known aromatic bitters on the market, Peychaud’s played a crucial role in cocktail development in the U.S. Invented in the 1830s by
Antoine Amedie Peychaud, it is a key ingredient in one of the first documented
cocktails, the Sazerac. Peychaud’s comes in at a surprisingly low (for a bitters) 35 percent alcohol by volume. It’s also sweeter than much of the competition, with an intriguing vivid pink color and bright notes of anise and Christmas spices. Along with Angostura and orange bitters, Peychaud’s completes a trio of potable infusions that are a must for any self-respecting home bar.
Slaughtering the sacred cow – Hacking Whiskey, by Aaron Goldfarb
Whiskey is held in higher regard now more than ever. With bottles fetching absurd prices on secondary markets and dwindling supplies of once daily drinkers (looking at you, Buffalo Trace), the thought of playing with your whiskey is almost unthinkable. Author Aaron Goldfarb says his book is for people who like whiskey and “actually want to drink it.”
Hacking Whiskey: Smoking, Blending, Fat Washing, and Other Whiskey Experiments was published last year and this year was one of four finalists for a Spirited Award for Best New Book on Drinks Culture, History or Spirits. It’s a wonderful exploration of how to have fun with grain spirits. Goldfarb writes with a conversational and irreverent tone, and each chapter provides information and inspiration to develop your own ideas. It’s great for anyone who wants to turn a bottle of bourbon into an entertaining side project.
Josh Seaburg has established several award-winning bar programs and a series of innovative pop-ups, highlighting elaborate cocktails and food from local chefs.