Burch Penicillin at Burch: A drink of the week for what ails you
Kelly Moritz Smoky scotch and tangy yuzu dominate the Burch Penicillin
Sniffles, coughs, aches, and pains -- 'tis unfortunately the season for maladies minor and major, from head colds to snow-shoveling injuries. Enter Burch, the upstairs-downstairs steakhouse and pizzeria installed in the former landmark pharmacy on the corner of Franklin and Hennepin. While no exotic powders or tinctures will be dispensed in the name of science and health, you can get on the road to better, at least temporarily, with the Burch Penicillin.
Riffing on the seasonally ubiquitous lemon-and-honey-laden hot toddies and their purported healing qualities, the Burch Penicillin is served ice cold, with scotch in the driver's seat. Assertive Dewars and rich, peaty Laphroaig smack the senses with a wallop of decidedly unhealthy-tasting tobacco smokiness, complex on the tongue and almost sweet. The duo of scotches gives way to subtler elements of flavor, a wisp of honey-ginger syrup and the tangy, unclassifiable citrus zing of yuzu, not quite grapefruit, lemon or mandarin, but a category all its own.
Fish out the gingery lozenge floating somewhere among the rocks and booze and ponder your cocktail under the neon zigzag lights and exposed concrete. It's not easy drinking -- scotch purists will likely be put off by the flowery extras, while non-scotch drinkers could balk at the unfamiliar. There are other cocktails, like the Red Ginger Cosmo, and Burch's signature Manhattan, that look solid, approachable, and delicious, not to mention a long and tempting wine list. But none other is so head scratching, so bracing, as the Penicillin, built to sip heartily and pretend you're doing something good for your body, at a bar, near midnight.