Spice up your cocktail with gourmet eats
Heart of The House Cleveland, OH
Kitchen 56 is about creating the heart of the house and bringing a chef's cuisine and a mixologist's cocktails together, creating masterful pairings. This month, we visit Cleveland, OH, a city exploding in culture, food & beverage, hospitality, and fantastic industry talent. We introduced Chef Grant Thrasher to renowned bartender John Bernard. Both are passionate, talented industry veterans who love what they do and absolutely love where they live. We asked Chef to create a dish inspired by and representing Cleveland. We also requested John to make a cocktail to pair with Chef's dish, inspired by the city he loves.
- Chef Grant Thrasher's Amazing Recipe!
- Cocktail by John Bernard!
- How To Video by our very own Nate Laird!
Chef Grant Thrasher
What was the inspiration behind this fantastic dish, and how did you incorporate Jägermeister in the dish?
I was inspired to recreate the lamb gyro due to how much the amazing sandwich plays a part in Cleveland’s community and culture. From West Side Market to Ohio City to Lakewood, you don’t have to look far to feed the craving. It's where chefs like to say, “the eyes eat first before the mouth does.” The sandwich itself tends to make you hungry, even on a full belly. My take on it allows you to take a break from your busy life and enjoy all the flavors and ingredients within the gyro, but in a fork and knife concept.
I used the classic Jägermeister in my recipe because the balance subliminally works well with the lamb gyro. Jägermeister's sweet notes are harmonious with the sweetness of the watermelon feta salad. I also used Jägermeister in the marinade for the lamb to compliment the game taste lamb has, but also push the flavor a bit further with licorice flavor. Jägermeister helps tie together the dish to make the perfect trifecta of the 3-Ss. Salty, Sweet, and Savory.
What do you love the most about the city?
I moved to Cleveland from Maryland about three years ago and was immediately thankful I did. Falling in love with the city seemed effortless. There is an excellent blend of culture, from booming nightlife to productive mornings running in Edgewater to relaxing lakefront sunset views. Going downtown to catch The Cleveland Guardians game is also a must! In the Fall, it's all about The Cleveland Browns. Go Browns! There are many fantastic places to dine, plenty of outdoor things to do, and great places to stay cool during this hot Summer. Cleveland is not the place one would be bored in.
John Bernard Cocktail Pairing
Photo by Nate Laird @jagerlifeatx
Hey, JB, what do you love the most about the city?
Cleveland is a working-class town. When you drive by the city and look just south of downtown, you'll see the sprawling steel mills. The people here are amazingly open and open-hearted. They like to eat, drink, get loud, and enjoy what life has to offer. We joke at my bar that we won't be busy until it's negative degrees outside to give Clevelanders a reason to go out and enjoy themselves!
Can you tell us a bit about the inspiration behind your creation?
Bertman's Stadium mustard is a Cleveland original. Few things say summertime than backyard barbecues or sunny afternoons wandering around the baseball stadium. At all of these events, you are likely to find pierogi, a variety of sausages, hard roll buns, horseradish, kraut, and Bertman's Stadium mustard to top anything and everything. Chef Thrasher's lamb dish is a fresh take on Cleveland summertime tradition, and I couldn't resist the challenge of putting mustard into a cocktail. This punch is designed to be fruit forward, Jägermeister, Teremana, mustard spicy, herbal, and finish fresh, cooling, and minty. Chef Thrasher's food is packed with summertime flavors, and Bertman's punch is here to complement and elevate all of them.
I've worked at the best Tiki Room in Cleveland for eight years now. We do a Cleveland-style tropical/tiki of long drinks using lots of fruits, flavors, and alcohol. Why just split the base spirit when you can split everything? It takes some practice and questionable results to get a good handle on building as much flavor as possible, but the challenge of getting there makes it so much fun!
Cocktail Name: Bertman's Punch
- 1 part Jägermeister
- 1 part Teremana Reposado
- 1 part Strawberry, Mustard, Mint Syrup* (See recipe below in Tips & Tricks)
- 3 part Pinot noir
Garnish: Garnish with a strawberry, mint sprig, and swath of orange peel
Glass: Highball/ Collins glass
Method: Stirred with lots of ice
GRAB YOUR TOOLS & LET'S MAKE IT TOGETHER!
Video by Nate Laird @jagerlifeatx
My name is Grant Thrasher. I’m 28 years old and pursuing my dream of a lifelong hospitality career and becoming a better chef to educate the industry's future. Born and raised in Dunkirk, Maryland, and relocated to Cleveland 3 years ago. Cleveland is the home, away from home, in my heart, and I wouldn't give it up for anything. I started in the kitchen as a dishwasher, moved up to a prep cook, to line cook, to sous, and now to Chef. I've been cooking for 11 years, and many more to go. I earned my Culinary Degree at The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. One of the best prestigious schools out there, if not the best.
I haven't lived in Cleveland long enough to figure out why there is a Cleveland Curse? Fortunately, I am only a fair-weather sport ball fan, and Cleveland is an affordable, honest little city to live, work, and play in. With Lake Erie forming the northern border of Cleveland, there are about five seasons a year here. Oftentimes all five seasons are in one day. Ohio is a farming state, and Cleveland's populace is ethnically diverse across all spectrums. So the food here is a myriad of flavors, aromas, and textures. Fair warning, though, all the food tends to be hearty and filling. The midwest is well known for eating well.
- 1 Cup water
- 0.5 Cup of honey; you can use any grade you prefer to suit your flavor complexity
- 2 Cup fresh strawberries cleaned and quartered
- 0.5 to 1 oz of fresh mint leaves
- 1 tsp of Bertman's Stadium mustard
Recipe Serves 8
Bring water to a boil. Reduce to simmer and add strawberries. Simmer for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat, and add honey and mint leaves. Steep for two minutes. Strain out the strawberry and mint and compost them. Stir in one teaspoon of Bertman's Stadium mustard. Let cool, then the syrup is ready to serve.
This punch can be built one at a time in highball/Collins glass, or you can batch in a larger format like a pitcher. Add all ingredients according to the recipe. Stir vigorously or spindle on high for 5 seconds, or flash blend in a blender. Dilution doesn't hurt a good punch so feel free to use smaller format ice like cracked, chipped, or pebble. Garnish with a sliced fresh strawberry on the rim. Fresh mint sprig. A large twist of fresh orange peel. Tiny umbrellas are optional.