Omnivore - Cocktail Spotlight: Sojourner at 4th & Swift

The bourbon-based concoction expertly blends floral, citrus and herbal notes into a seamless, satisfying whole

These days, our city is teaming with restaurants and bars offering a slate of original cocktails and updated classics, but the drinks menu can sometimes send a veteran barfly into sticker shock. At many of the top watering holes, however, a quick scan of the house-made infusions and exotic ingredients provide an indication of where your hard-earned money is going. At 4th & Swift, for instance, bar manager James Ives' impressive menu lists such customized concoctions as grapefruit-yuzu shrub, oolong tea-infused vodka and tobacco bitters, all of which are made in house to create flavors that may exist only in his imagination.

But lest you suspect Ives of simply throwing eccentric ingredients together for the sheer novelty, you should order the Sojourner, a bourbon-based concoction that expertly blends floral, citrus and herbal notes into a seamless, satisfying whole. It's one of three cocktails on Ives' menu that employs Zirbenz Stone Pine Liqueur — he developed a taste for strong alpine liqueurs during a stint in Austria — but he tempers its potentially overpowering flavor by pre-blending it for several days in a bottle with the much-sweeter St. Germain elderflower liqueur.

Ives begins the drink by pressing fresh sage in the bottom of a glass with the juice from a lemon quarter. The crushed leaves are discarded and he adds the liquors, along with a house-made simple syrup thickened with gum arabic. The mixture is served straight up in a martini glass, garnished with a whole sage leaf.