Today we’re headed to local cocktail bar & eatery 2 Doors Down Bar + Bites to have one of this year’s Made With Love competitors make us an exclusive, pre-competition cocktail. As we arrive, bartender Morgan LeCreux has the bar to herself – her energy fills the room as we watch her mix, shake and set drinks on fire. LeCreux, who is a first time competitor at this year’s showdown, sits us down to tell us all about the cocktail she came up with for us – the Novara Nuovo.
“So the cocktail that I made for you, I was asked to use Campari which is an amaro. It’s a bitter liqueur — it’s kinda like the original quintessential amaro. I’ve been learning a lot about amaros lately, and they’re becoming more available in Halifax. So I’ve been challenging myself to combine them because they’re quite strong ingredients. In this cocktail there’s two. It’s a challenge to balance the bitterness with acid and sugar without being too overpowering on the palate.”
“So the other ingredients I used are Cocchi di Torino, which is my favourite sweet vermouth. I used Amaro Nonino, which is one of those newer ingredients to Halifax, some fresh lemon, and a tiny bit of Bénédictine, which is an herbal liqueur; it just adds a tiny bit more sugar to it and like a floral, herbal note to the finish.”
“The cocktail is shaken. Serving it up, it’s in a nice cocktail glass — whether it be a coupe or a Nick and Nora, with no ice. I’ve flamed the lemon zest, swirled it around the rim and discarded it for garnish.”
What was the inspiration behind the Novara Nuovo?
I did sort of model [this drink] after a cocktail called a Paper Plane, which is a classic I’m a huge fan of. Paper Plane is equal parts Bourbon, Amaro Nonino, Aperol — which is a different kind of amaro yet again — and lemon. So, in this cocktail instead of Bourbon, Campari is my shining ingredient.
What’s the comparison between the Novara Nuovo and what you’ve made as your competition cocktail?
The cocktail I made for you today, the Novara Nuovo, with Campari, is a little bit more on the boozy and adventurous side. The cocktail that I made for the competition, is definitely more aimed for the general public. So it’s a tiny bit sweeter, it has more citrus to it — they’re both balanced, but the one I made for Made With Love is meant to be for everyone.
Without giving too much away about your competition cocktail, what kind of sneak peek can you give us?
So one ingredient I did want to use is Mezcal, because I really love it. So, I chose Tequila for my spirit, they’re like sisters. Mezcal is like a smokier Tequila. In order to create the flavour that I was looking for from that, I decided to use Lapsang souchong tea. It’s an incredibly smoky tea, it basically tastes like a campfire. I’ve modelled my booth, and my theme around a tea party. So it’s going to be super dainty, with florals.
In discussing the upcoming competition, LeCreux tells us what the Made With Love competition does for Halifax’s local bar scene.
It’s a platform for all of us. It’s a chance to show that Halifax has a lot more talent than people are willing to believe. Halifax’s cocktail community has grown exponentially over the past 2-3 years and there’s a few people who can definitely be attributed to that success.
What’s it like competing with your peers?
Everyone here knows each other. It’s the kind of community where when somebody comes in first place, or somebody places at all, or if you don’t make it, everyone is high-fiving each-other, hugging, and congratulating each other. Competing with my peers in this community is a god-send, I feel privileged to know them all.
How about presenting your drink to them, the public and to the judges?
Everybody is happy to be there, they’re out, they’re with their friends, they’re having a good time, they’ve come to support us all. I’m excited to share my drink with everyone. As far as the judges go, I’m looking forward to sharing it with them as well. I’ve gained more and more experience over the last couple of months so I feel less nervous in terms of presenting to them. I’m feeling more comfortable competing now than I was a month ago.
Any final thoughts or words before going into the competition this upcoming week?
I do want to say thank you to Matt Boyle and Jeff Van Horne of Clever Barkeep, they’ve been an incredible support system for me, they’ve been so encouraging. And I want to also say a huge thank you to Florence and Jannick from Made With Love, because they have just been fantastic, they have been there for everything that I needed. They’ve been a great resource for me.
On November 13th you can taste Morgan LeCreux’s competing cocktail Hot in the Afternoon at the Halifax Seaport Farmer’s Market for this year’s Made With Love competition. Tickets range between $54.99 – $65 and are available here.
*One ticket for the event includes a complete tasting of all showcased cocktails, food-pairings, a Red Bull Custom Cocktail as well as a right to vote for your favourite cocktail creation/favourite Barchef!
THE NOVARA NUOVO COCKTAIL RECIPE
- 1.25 oz Campari
- 3/4 oz Cocchi di Torino
- 1/2 oz Amaro Nonino
- 1/2 oz Lemon Juice
- 1 Bar Spoon of Bénédictine
How to Make the Novara Nuovo
- Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker.
- Shake vigorously.
- Strain into a coupe glass.
- For garnish, flame lemon zest, swirl it around the rim, and discard.
- Grab a seat at the bar and enjoy!