Mix It Up
by Joanna Weinstein, 11/02/2011
(From left) The Prairie Dog and The Grape Ape at JoeDoe. Photos: Marley White
45 E. 1st St., 212-780-0262, East Village
Jill Schulster hones her skills at both the ballet bar and by tending to cocktails at JoeDoe, the restaurant she co-owns with her romantic partner, chef Joe Dobias. When she's not mixing up her beer-based concoctions (The New York Times' Frank Bruni is a fan of The Honey Beer), she performs with Eidolon Dance Company in New York. Mixology wasn't originally part of the Tisch grad's professional plans, but when she and Dobias opened their mom-and-pop eatery in 2008, Schulster found she had a talent for it. "We didn't have enough money for a wine list," she says. "To compete with everyone at the time, I made it a point to focus on interesting spirits." Just like her dance moves, Schulster's drinks are the epitome of poised:
The Prairie Dog (pictured above, left), $12
What's shaken: High West Oak vodka, simple syrup, lime juice and fresh lime topped with Victory Moonglow Weizenbock unfiltered wheat beer, rimmed with smoked salt and sugar
Reminiscent of: smoked oats and honey with a splash of lime
Pair it with: any duck or fried entrée
The Grape Ape (pictured above, right), $11
What's shaken: Banks rum, lemon juice, Concord grapes and simple syrup
Reminiscent of: golden-grape soda
Pair it with: JoeDoe's chicken-fried rabbit entrée
Limited availability: This is one of the few semisweet cocktails Schulster offers. She prefers acid to sugar, but couldn't resist the lure of the grapes; they go out of season soon, so be sure to take advantage now while you still can.
Additional Napkin Notes
Know the lingo: At JoeDoe, beer cocktails are known as "prepared beers."
Bonus points for originality: "I don't riff on classic cocktails," Schulster says. "You won't see my version of whiskey sour or a Ramble. My [goal] is to explore the new, do flavors you wouldn't expect—spice, smoke, herbs, things like that."
Unexpected go-to ingredient: "Lawry's Seasoned Salt," she says. "My dad would put it on everything. It was my goal to incorporate it into a cocktail." (Look for its inclusion in the vodka–pale ale drink called the Hipster BBQ.)