While penning July’s Nine Bars feature on Zade Womack, a barista at Blue Copper Coffee Room and bartender at the Rest in Salt Lake City, I met up with photographer Michael Kunde and Womack at Blue Copper for the article’s after-hours photo shoot. The second I set foot in the café, Womack set a bright red drink before me on the counter. There was an array of liquor bottles scattered behind the bar among the Mazzer Mini and Malkhonig K30 Twin espresso grinders—something you’d never see during business hours. I noticed sweet vermouth and Campari.
“Is it negroni week or something?” I asked, feigning surprise. (It was, in fact, negroni week.)
“Just try it,” Womack said.
I had a generous sip. I could tell it was a rum negroni, but with added depth and complexity.
“Oh damn,” was all I could say before Kunde, completely disregarding boundaries, as photographers are wont to do, snatched the drink out of my hands to use it as a photo prop. After a couple hours of Kunde prodding Womack to make prop drink after prop drink in search of the perfect shot—battling violent winds outside and a brief power outage—the three of us had sampled more than our share of impromptu cocktails. At the end of the shoot, though, I couldn’t stop thinking about the first sip of the first drink of the night. I asked Womack to make one last cocktail—“Whatever that first one was.” He told me it was a recipe he’s kept in his figurative back pocket for a while—a negroni variation that substitutes Jamaican rum for gin, and splits his shop’s house coffee concentrate with the sweet vermouth.
Of course! Coffee—my reason for living; my reason for writing about Womack in the first place. I should have known. I’m glad he was willing to finally share his recipe, because this is one of the tastiest new cocktails I’ve had this year. If you end up in Salt Lake City, look for it on the Rest’s summer cocktail menu. If not, make a couple for yourself on a long, stormy, summer night.
Caffe Kingston Negroni
(Zade Womack, 2015)
1 oz Appleton Estate 12-year rum
1 oz Campari
1/2 oz Blue Copper Roasters Gold Brew coffee concentrate
1/2 oz Dolin sweet vermouth
Combine all ingredients in a rocks glass. Fill with ice and stir six times. Garnish with a lemon twist.
—Cody Kirkland is the bar manager at Salt Lake City’s The Rose Establishment.