Root Squared's (1800 Magazine St., 504-309-7800; www.squarerootnola.com) bar manager Max Messier launched a weekly cocktail series June 10. He calls the pop-up drinks lab "This Might Work..." and it's designed to share his cocktail experiments with flavors, textures and methods.
"It's a trial run," Messier says. "I'm definitely looking for feedback."
Inaugural cocktails showcased molecular mixology. Messier used liquid nitrogen to freeze cocktails into fog-making slushes and to create steamy ice cubes (he placed one such cube in a glass of Japanese whiskey, a drink which also could be paired with a short rib dish on chef Phillip Lopez's tasting menu at Square Root).
Gimme Three Steps is a white wine spritzer made with pea puree, bianco vermouth and honey and topped with club soda. It could go with a salad downstairs at Square Root.
Other drinks reflect Messier's interest in exotic spices — ask him to build a sipper with dragon fruit shrub, Moroccan spice syrup or Chinese black tea concentrate. At the pop-up, he also explores alternative ingredients: for his Desert Fox, Messier crushes local chardonnay grapes and uses the must (skins, seeds, juice) as the acid in a gin, vermouth and cinnamon- spiced cocktail.
For the Urban Achiever, he combines vodka with milk, adds citric acid to curdle the fat, then strains out the fat. The milk-washed vodka has a creamy mouthfeel but is clear, he says. He'll add it to sweet vermouth and vanilla bean syrup and serve it over crushed ice with a drizzle of St. George coffee liqueur — a variation on a White Russian.
All drinks featured in "This Might Work..." are $6.
The fleeting nature of pop-ups and use of seasonal ingredients mean that some drinks he creates during the Tuesday cocktail labs might be singular tastings.
"This may be the only chance to get to actually try one of them," he says.