A Gooey New After-dinner "Drink"
Who says after-dinner drinks can't come sandwiches between graham crackers? Debunking the digestif norm, Mott St uses a bit of whimsy and nostalgia for its crafty new after-dinner option: Fernet-splashed s'mores roasted over the restaurant's patio fire pit. Beverage director Nate Chung tells all.
(Fire pit s'mores in action at Mott St)
Matt Kirouac: Where did the idea to implement s'mores on the menu at Mott St come from?
Nate Chung: After hours on a fine summer evening, the Mott St staff built a fire on our patio. The mood was pleasant and our spirits were high. Chef Edward Kim, riding the momentum, rushed across the street to the supermarket and picked up hot dogs and marshmallows for us to grill over the nostalgic flame. Soon after, we all saw how wonderful it would be to share our experience with our guests regularly.
Kirouac: Why/how does Fernet work so well with s'mores flavors?
Chung: While a marshmallow is more or less a neutral vessel, it withstands bold flavors. We experimented with various liqueurs like amaretto, cherry heering, and coffee heering. With the amaretto, the marshmallow overpowered the delicacy of the almond. The same can be said for both cherry and coffee heering. Finally, with the Fernet + marshmallow, especially after roasting it over a flame, both the marshmallow and the Fernet flavors came through. Fernet also is a natural pairing with chocolate and the molasses in the graham cracker.
Kirouac: How are the Fernet-soaked s'mores prepared and executed?
Chung: We massage extra-large marshmallows in Fernet and let them meld for about 2 hours. In the past, we made our own Fernet marshmallows—incorporating the Fernet at the beginning of the process. This, however, yielded faint and delicate Fernet marshmallows. Tasty, but not bold enough for our standards.
Kirouac: Are the rest of the components pretty classic?
Chung: The rest of the components are mostly classic. We use Honey Maid graham crackers. For the chocolate, we prefer any dark chocolate that is 60%+ cocoa. Our favorites are Vosges salted with almond and Callebaut "Intense" chocolate at 60+% cocoa.
Kirouac: What do you love about s'mores as an after-dinner night cap?
Chung: Fernet Branca has already made its place as a digestif with its sweet, minty, and earthy properties. S’mores, likewise, are synonymous with camp fires. Topping off an evening with Fernet S’mores signals the end of a meal and evokes nostalgic adventure.