10:57 am
Wed July 24, 2013

That’s The Spirit: 'Haunt' Pop-up Cocktail Event

'Storm in the Sea of Galilee' cocktail
Credit Haunt

Quick: What’s the difference between a Sidecar and a Sazerac? If you don’t know, you’re not alone. We’re living in a world where a Martini can contain chocolate and a Bloody Mary might be spiked with bacon.

Never fear. Kevin and Heather Gavagan will explain it all – and show you a spirited time this Friday, July 26, when they host Haunt, a “pop-up” cocktail event at Letty’s on Shamrock restaurant from 9:00 till midnight.

Kevin and Heather Gavagan

The couple will be mixing up a selection of cleverly curated cocktails that are equal parts retro, metro, and modern.

Instead of a Moscow Mule, guests can sip a Carolina Mule, made with Covington sweet-potato vodka from N.C., Blenheim ginger ale from S.C., and lime.

An authentic Sazerac cocktail will honor its New Orleans roots with rye, sugar, bitters, and an absinthe rinse.

The Gavagans are fond of using “shrubs,” sweet-and-tart syrups made with sugar and vinegar. Back in Colonial American in the days before refrigeration, shrubs were a way to preserve fruit. At the pop-up event, guests can sample the flavor of a peach shrub in a Gaffney’s Folly cocktail.

Says Heather, “The cocktail is truly an American invention.” Although the word has come to mean most any mixed alcoholic beverage, the term is more than 200 years old, and refers only to the combination of spirit, bitters, sugar and water. Punches, slings, and juleps are different and have their own places in history.

The cocktails will be memorable, but that’s not the couple’s only goal. “It’s all about conversation,” Kevin says, and explains how Charlotte lacks the sort of places New York, New Orleans, and Washington, D.C., offer. “They have really great cocktails in a non-club environment.” The pop-up event will model that sensibility.

  Inspired by those cocktail spots in other cities, the Gavagans envision opening a bricks-and-mortar place of their own. Offering luscious libations to a thirsty and appreciative clientele is a noble pursuit, but it’s also a business, and the couple has been researching and refining the plans for several years. Haunt’s mission is “to provide a place of elegance and inspiration through an environment and menu that is historical, well-studied and classically defined, all while maintaining a sense of whimsy and comfort to its patron.”

The mixologists explain it this way: “Many a plan has been hatched over a good cocktail. This is ours. What'll yours be?”

The Haunt pop-up cocktail event is open to the public. For more info, visit their Facebook page.

Sidecar cocktail

If you want to make your own classic Sidecar cocktail, here is Kevin’s go-to recipe.

  • 1-1/2 oz. VSOP Cognac
  • 3/4 oz. Cointreau
  • 3/4 oz. fresh lemon juice

Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a sugared rim. 
Proportions can be adjusted to taste.

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