Clear Cocktails Capture Summer Essences at Marcelino’s Boutique Bar


Past the dimly lit, gilded bar area buzzing with the din of shakers clattering, beyond the low chatter drifting from intimate seating nooks, there’s a nondescript doorway in the back of Marcelino’s that seems to lead to a closet, but in reality, it’s a veritable chemistry lab, housing a humming machine with a glass chamber collecting condensation, where the flavor distillation magic happens.

This season at the boutique craft cocktail bar, it will become clear what bar director Refaat Ghostine has been concocting behind the scenes. What’s also clear, literally, are the drinks, which are devised around spirits infused with different herbs via the Rotovap, a device used in molecular gastronomy to extract flavors. Ghostine, who’s earned 50 Best Bar accolades, mentions that Marcelino’s is the first bar in RI to elevate its drink program with this method. “It’s like science. You play around and use a lot of trial and error.”

During a recent visit, fresh oregano was being fused with gin, which is featured in the Tomato / Oregano cocktail – a bright, savory drink that sips like a gourmet small plate. Before imbibing, you start with the garnish, a delicate crisp that teases the flavors to come in a sun-dried tomato oil gel with black salt and oregano.

Without the visual cues of color to guide the experience, the drinker must rely on taste and smell to navigate the nuances infused in these cocktails, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for playfulness, too – an inventive, summery take on an espresso martini, which marries the essences of cardamom and espresso with passionfruit and peach, is topped with a fluffy, airy cloud.

“Inspiration doesn’t come from inside my work space, it’s always from outside. I bring an idea, think about it, and try it in here,” says Ghostine, and the success of these creations is crystal clear.

Instagram: @itsmarcelinos


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