June 08, 2012
Great cities require great bars; cosmopolitan powerhouses like New York City, Seattle, San Francisco, Chicago and Portland are known for innovative libations born out of a thriving food culture. Birmingham is no exception: a night at Satterfield’s bar is a study in history, herbology, chemistry, culinary arts and, on occasion, even physics — thanks to self-taught bartender Josh Schaff.
Equal parts craftsman and mad scientist, Schaff concocts cocktails that transcend the ordinary world of martini shakers and swizzle sticks and transform it into a magical place where ingredients boil, effervesce and flame.
Satterfield's bar lives up to the kitchen’s reputation for passionate dedication to fresh, local and seasonal ingredients. The cocktail list is a mélange of exclusive offerings, new twists on old standards, and must-have classics that evolve with the local harvest.
Schaff, who started at the restaurant as a waiter’s assistant, learned how to make bitters, liqueurs, tonic water and more by unearthing vintage recipes of bygone days and reviving them with modern, exotic ingredients. “Once I was named bartender I just took it and ran with it,” he explained with a guileful grin.
Last month, Satterfield’s unveiled new House Punches, made from scratch in-house. These exclusive beverages capture fruit flavors in full bloom, while added carbonation gives each a summery sparkle. A tribute to Birmingham's iron-industry roots, Vulcan Punch quickly became a popular choice for locals. It's a refreshing combination of Appleton Estate and Bacardi rums, lemon, Courvoisier, and peach and apple brandies, which is hand-carbonated and bottled.
The refreshing yet fiery Spiced Strawberry Margarita uses his Strawberry 3-Pepper Bitters, a thought-provoking marriage of sweet fresh-picked strawberries and smoky jalapeño, habanero and poblano peppers. House-made tonic is an epiphany, illuminating each beverage it infiltrates.
Just like Chef Haller Magee’s fall-off-the-bone short ribs from the kitchen, Schaff knows a good brew can take time. His oak-barrel-aged cocktails may wait weeks — even months — before debuting.
Thanks to its master mixologist, Satterfield's bar strikes a balance between classic and cutting-edge...Satterfield's expects the same from vendors, which is why it proudly stocks regional products such as Cat Head Vodka of Madison, Miss., and beers from Birmingham's Avondale Brewing Company.
"If I'm not striving for perfection, what am I doing? If you're going to do something, do it right," Schaff said. “I just follow Chef Haller’s eccentric lead and try to stay true to our fresh, seasonal roots.” Passion for perfection poises Satterfield's Restaurant to revolutionize the cocktail in Birmingham, one drink at a time.
About Satterfield's Restaurant
Located in the heart of Cahaba Heights, Satterfield's Restaurant is one of Birmingham finest culinary experiences. We offer the freshest and best ingredients, a friendly and knowledgeable staff, and elegant ambiance. An evening at Satterfield's takes you to that place where the family dinner table and fine dining meet. Satterfield's specializes in a global dining with a local (Southern!) twist. While the menu changes daily, guests will always find Old-World flavors married with New-World sensibilities. Chef Haller Magee's favorites include steaks, fresh seafood, veal, rabbit, and quail — each with a noticeable French, Italian, Spanish or Mediterranean influences.
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