July 27, 2020 by Gabrielle Martin
Photography provided by the Webber Restaurant Group
The Scarlet Oak Tavern is a town staple, known for its alluring ambiance, fresh farm-to-fork food from Chef Stephen Sherman, and creative cocktails (some staples include Quean Ann’s Punch and their Matcha Ginger Smash). The Scarlet’s cocktail menu is innovative in that it is seasonal, evolving to compliment and correspond with the climate; also adding to their uniqueness is the Tavern’s use of house-made bitters and tinctures.
Did I mention their incredible beer and wine selection, also rotating with season (and vintage) changes? Something that I especially appreciate is the Scarlet’s efforts to curate a wine list that avoids pretension. They even offer their own blend of wine, called Patriarch and named after Wine Director Kate Webber’s father. Patriarch is available at all Webber Restaurant Group properties; it’s selected and blended at Banshee Vineyard in North Coast, California. Werthman describes it as a “blend of Zinfandel-Syrah-Cabernet Sauvignon-Grenache.” This original blend also accompanies a signature rum, beer, and farm!
The cocktails, wine list, and beer selection are the creative curation of beverage director Dave Werthman. I sat down with Werthman last week for some tips and tricks from a pro on perfecting those DIY summer drinks.
What is the trick to creating the perfect summertime cocktail?
“It should be simple but well-thought out.”
Werthman then suggests using fresh, seasonal berries, such as strawberries, raspberries, black raspberries, and (his personal favorite) elderberries.
What items or ingredients are must-haves behind the bar at the Tavern?
“Tito’s, fresh fruit juices, fresh lemons and limes, self-made sour mix.”
Werthman says that sour mix is “really easy” to make, and that making it yourself really does make all the difference in your DIY drinks! He also suggests having gin at-the-ready, as well as falernum, which is an off-the-menu staple ingredient behind the bar at the Scarlet.
Werthman acknowledges that while the name might sound a little scary, falernum is simply a syrup liqueur; the Scarlet makes theirs with rum, lime juice, clove, ginger, and sugar. Werthman comments that having this by your side will assist in assembling a terrific tiki cocktail!
What are some of your most popular sellers, to offer our readers a little DIY inspiration?
“The Sinner’s Punch is a big seller. I won’t get into why it’s called that.”
Werthman follows-up by saying, “The Wood ‘n Teeth has been a surprisingly HUGE seller for years at all the properties. We infuse water with cherry cavendish tobacco, then smoke the water, then freeze into ice cubes. Rye whisky with amaro balsamic reduction and one smoked cube. The drink evolves as the cube melts, giving it a smokey and sweet tobacco flavor as it melts.”
What are some successful summer wine pairings?
For example, what goes well with seafood? Chicken? A hot August night?
His personal recommendation? Giesen of New Zealand! Werthman said this wine will pair well with shellfish, making it a perfect pick for summertime on the South Shore.
For those who love a good brew, what beers would you recommend that pair well with this time of year?
“Kölsch, a German-style beer.” Can’t choose between a lager and an ale? Werthman says, “Order a Kölsch!” He describes this beer as “light and flavorful.”
The Scarlet focuses on offering options from local, small craft breweries. As this is their specialty, Werthman recommends the kösch at Exhibit A in Framingham and Devil’s Purse in South Dennis for those who want a locally-brewed beer.
Any other advice?
“Don’t overthink it! And if you don’t want to do it yourself, you don’t have to!” Werthman reveals that the Scarlet Oak Tavern will be offering cocktails-to-go soon, which will include some familiar favorites. More updates to come.