Cocktail: East of Eden | Bartender: Japhet Bower

The deadline for submissions for the Luxardo cocktail competition was fast approaching and I had no idea what I was going to do. I knew I wanted to use their Bitter Bianco but that was about it. I was making dinner one night and had some Ontario asparagus. As often happens, I ended up with a salad with a honey vinaigrette and it just seemed to me that it would make a good cocktail. The rosemary and citrus notes in the Bitter Bianco just might perfectly complement the honey and asparagus.

I had just attended a talk by Nick Kosevich, the guy behind Bittercube bitters and he had been talking about citrates. I was really interested in having a sour element in my cocktail but I didn’t want to use lemon juice. At Mrs. Robinson, we go through quite a bit of citrus and I decided to repurpose all of the scraps into a citrate using a lemon oleo. I was going to roast the asparagus and smoke the syrup but eventually decided that would add too many components in my cocktail and I wanted it to be simple. So I ended up simmering and blanching the asparagus, then letting it sit in my honey and lemon oleo over night. It worked out pretty well, although the asparagus flavour was completely gone in a week.

A lot of people thought asparagus wouldn’t work in a cocktail but I’ve always been drawn to difficult ingredients. My feeling is, give it a try. You might be surprised by the results. And bonus: I ended up winning the competition with this cocktail!

Cocktail: East of Eden | Bartender Atlas

1.5 oz Dillon’s No. 7 Gin
0.5 oz Luxardo Bitter Bianco
0.5 oz honey asparagus citrate<

Stir and strain into coupe. Garnish with rosemary.


Japhet Bower
Japhet Bower has been making drinks since 2005 when he realized that he liked throwing parties more than making art.

Since then, he's taken on the intense but rewarding job of helping to open bars and restaurants across the city, including La Carnita, Soho House, Bar Hop Brew Co., Northern Maverick Brew Co. and Famous Last Words. You can currently find him at Mrs. Robinson.

Connecting with people and helping them feel empowered to make intelligent decisions about what they eat and drink is the most rewarding aspect of the job for him.
Japhet Bower on Instagram

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