Spice up your cocktail with gourmet eats
Heart of The House Pittsburgh
Kitchen 56 is all 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 Pittsburgh, PA, a fantastic city with incredible hospitality and industry talent. We have introduced Chef-owner Michael Scarlatelli to renowned local Bartender Jason Renner. Both are passionate and talented industry veterans who love what they do and absolutely love their city. We asked Chef to create a dish inspired by and represent his Pittsburgh. We also asked Jason to make a cocktail to pair with the dish that also is inspired by the city he loves. You are in for a treat! Enjoy!
- Chef's Amazing Recipe!
- Cocktail by Jason Renner!
- How To Video by our very own Nate Laird!
Chef Michael Scarlatelli
PGH 5 Spice Impossible Sliders
What was the inspiration behind your Pittsburgh Jägermeister 5 Spice Impossible Sliders?
I went with a five-spice theme since the combination of spices is refreshing, and you find them in Jägermeister. Spring is a refreshing time of year here in Pittsburgh after a long winter and the perfect time for playoff hockey for our five-time Stanley cup champs, the Penguins!
I’m a huge hockey fan hockey player, and so are most of my family members. The Pgh Penguins Organization is an integral part of my family, and since the Pens have won five Stanley Cups, I thought the five-spice would fit in excellent as a tip of the hat to the Pens and to playoff hockey that usually starts in the springtime.
What do you love most about your city Chef?
I love Pittsburgh because of our blue-collar roots, passion for our sports teams, trades, and pretty much everything we do. Pittsburgh has always been and has become an even more popular destination for young , hip entrepreneurs which is a huge inspiration to me.
Jason Renner's Cocktail Pairing
Photo by Nate Laird @jagerlifeatx
Hey, Jason can you tell us a bit about the inspiration behind your creation?
Pittsburgh, nicknamed The Steel City, historically was a big producer of steel for decades. The industrial base continued to expand through the 1960s, but after 1970 foreign competition led to the collapse of the steel industry, with massive layoffs and mill closures. Pittsburgh has avoided many of the issues other Rust Belt cities have faced by pivoting its focus to the medical, tech, banking, and education spheres. So that's why I'm calling it Still City because Pittsburgh is still here and thriving.
I approached this drink as "scientifically" as possible. I asked a source for as many known ingredients in Jägermeister as they could tell me. I used my vegetarian Flavor Bible to cross-reference as many matching flavors to come up with a profile, I was happy to work with. I set out to make this drink weird yet approachable. I also wanted it to be a drink that can be replicated behind any bar. Infusing jalapeños in Jagermeister can be as fast as 15 minutes. The carrot juice came from Whole Foods.
Savory cocktails are a thing and this slaps! Enjoy!
Cocktail Name: Still City
- 2 parts Chilie infused Jägermeister
- 3/4 part Carrot Juice
- 1/2 part Maple Syrup
- 1/4 part Fresh Lemon Juice
Glass: Nick & Nora
Garnish: No Garnish
Method: Combine all ingredients into a shaker tin, shake till the tin is almost too cold to hold, and double strain with a Hawthorne and fine mesh strainer into a Nick and Nora glass. No garnish because I want all the ingredients to shine without any distractions.
Jason's Tips & Tricks:
If you want to infuse spirits, here are a few rules of thumb.
- Empty your spirit into a container that is bigger by volume.
- For example, if you have a 750ml bottle you can use a quart container.
- For citrus, infusions peel the fruit squeeze essential oils into the jar, and drop peels in.
- Fresh fruit works great and dried fruit creates a more potent flavor.
- Infusions are all trial and error and need to be closely monitored.
- When using hot spice it may take as little as 15 minutes so closely monitor and taste frequently.
- If you are making infusions for your bar program or even at home it's a better practice to do the infusions in the back of the house as the fruit typically becomes not very appealing and discolored.
- You can also use an ISI for rapid infusions.
- Infusing, the world of flavor is literally your oyster, from herbs, spices, fruits, teas & botanicals.
GRAB YOUR TOOLS & LET'S MAKE IT TOGETHER!
Video by Nate Laird @jagerlifeatx
Mike “Scarfo” Scarlatelli grew up in the Suburbs of Pittsburgh, PA, and attended College in Minneapolis, MN. Mike is a professional drummer, chef, and brewer who got into the service industry at a very young age to help finance the many tours he was part of in various rock and punk bands.
Eventually, Mike was able to open up his Restaurant Bar in Pgh’s south side. Since then, Mike has started a nano brewery at the original location and opened a second Bar in Cranberry, Pa. Mike resides in Seven Fields, Pa, with his amazing wife and five daughters. ·
Jason moved from Baltimore in 1999 and immediately fell in love with the culture and work ethic of Steel City. It's a no-nonsense, big city with the intimacy of a small town. Its looked upon in the industry as a B-tier city and, as industry professionals, take that as a challenge and welcome it. He worked in the hospitality industry his whole life but didn't get behind a bar until '06 at a neighborhood beer-and-a-shot spot. That dive bar taught him how to be efficient and how to hustle. Jason loved it! Before getting into craft cocktails, he worked in fine dining, hotels, and events. If there was a bar, he was behind it. Jason finally landed at the Bar he is at now in 2015, and it has been home ever since.
Working in a fine-ish dining restaurant for the past seven years has been a considerable step up in his growth as a bartender. His relationships with the Chef and the kitchen staff have taught him to look at flavors differently. When building a drink for the first time, he always has his colleagues taste and critique it because their palates experience flavors differently than his. That feedback allows him to tweak drinks more creatively than when he was in a non-kitchen environment.