Salted Caramel Martini
Cocktail Runner Up
- No Bull Country Club | Fargo, N.D.
- Twin Cities Division
As any chef knows, inspiration can be found in many places. For the Salted Caramel Martini, Chef Adrian Baldwin thought back to salted caramel cheesecake, a popular dessert that was served at a restaurant where he once worked. “Salted caramel is a trigger phrase right now, a trendy thing that can be used a lot of ways," Baldwin notes. “So why not a cocktail?”
Why not, indeed.
For the drink, Baldwin aimed for nuance and complexity. That goal was accomplished via a carefully calibrated blend of three spirits. “Vanilla-flavored vodka is a great base to build from and it works nicely with the coffee and hazelnut flavors,” he says, referring to the Kahlua and Frangelico that complete the roster.
To rim the glass, Baldwin created a rich caramel, the burnt sugary sweetness deliciously offset by a pinch of sea salt.
Among a list of about 20 specialty drinks, the Salted Caramel Martini remains a brisk seller.
Like Cinderella’s coach turning back into a pumpkin at midnight, No Bull Country Club transforms itself when the clock strikes 9 p.m. Until then, the Fargo, N.D. fast-casual is full-on family friendly, a menu that is centered on hand-dipped and freshly fried chicken tenders acting like a magnet for the young set. But long about their bedtime, the lights go down and No Bull becomes a bar, a watering hole that has cultivated an image for great drinks in a friendly environment.
“When we go from restaurant to bar, everything changes, especially the atmosphere,” says Adrian Baldwin, corporate chef for JL Beers of America, an area multi-concept operator that owns No Bull.
Beer may well be a mainstay but increasingly cocktails are moving to the fore, a trend that is playing out across the country. From martinis and old-fashioneds to classic gin and tonics, classics are finding new audiences, especially Millennials. To leverage the trend, No Bull’s management looked to buff up its adult-beverage offerings.
“My operations manager came to me and asked if I like to make drinks,” Baldwin recalls, adding that although the skill wasn’t in his professional wheelhouse, he practices the craft at home. “We discussed what kinds of drinks might be a draw and I got to work.”