Spring Cocktail Guide: The 'Little Sheba' with Joshua James of The Clever Koi

Like many restaurant teams in town, the guys at The Clever Koi may not have slept much recently, with a weekend of Devoured under their belts and media types knocking on their doors to ask about Spring menus. All the same, Joshua James, co-owner and Beverage Director, was dressed for a successful interview -- and dinner service, likely, too -- about the upcoming changes to his bar's cocktail menu.

We'd asked him to pick one drink, and one drink only, to share with us before its release. We got the 'Little Sheba' in return. It's mostly Fortaleza's Reposado Tequila, for an earthy and oak-aged backbone, some St. George Raspberry Brandy, some Giffard-brand Orgeat, lime juice, and more than a few dashes of 50/50 bitters to "help dry it out." James mashes strawberry at the bottom of a collins glass and stacks tinted, zested ice above it. Then he shakes the rest and fills. The end result? A delectably festive, delightedly not-too-fruity, decidedly un-sweet and balanced cocktail. A straw is your pipeline to drink a bit too quickly from the bottom up -- so, bottoms up. There will be a couple more like it when the 'Little Sheba' hits the menu in a couple weeks.

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Shelby Moore