PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA — The restaurant bar at The Row House is known locally as a cocktail destination, and its name is synonymous with the superstar Head Bartender and Mixologist, Robin Harris. Robin has been a fixture in the cocktail scene for about 5 years, working his way up from back-server 6 years ago.
Row House line cook, Dorothy Myers, typically enjoys a beer and shot at the bar for her shift drink. But this past Thursday, she was feeling adventurous. We arrived as she sat down at the bar and asked Robin for a menu. After browsing the menu, she ordered a shaken cocktail that had a kitchen favorite — Fernet Branca.
“See, on paper the drink might be unbalanced and bitter,” Robin said over the bar with a coy smile. “But what I don’t mention on the menu is that there’s a little pinch of salt in the drink. Salt curbs bitterness, and brings out the flavors in the Fernet! In fact, just a little pinch of salt is sort-of my new secret weapon in every cocktail!” he explained to the Culinary Institute graduate. “Next time, you should try the jalapeño Chartreuse cocktail. We can crack open the Flavor Bible and talk about sugar and spice!”
“Wow! That’s brilliant. I can’t wait to find a way to apply this in the back of the house,” remarked Dorothy. “Thank you for sharing!”