THE CINEMATIC TRAVELS cocktail contains smoky cinnamon and tart apple, both classic fall flavors. But with Detroit’s come-and-go winter weather, autumns, like many other things in Detroit, are a do-it-yourself affair. Takoi beverage director Drew Pompa highlights that distinctly Michigan moxie with the Cinematic Travels. Its base spirit is from American Liquor Co. Vodka, founded by Chris Montana, the first Black distillery owner in the United States. Montana blends four types of vodka distillates from Midwestern distillers, and Pompa says the rye in the blend elevates the cinnamon and apple flavors.
Michigan is a very DIY, producer-centric state — whether it’s with beer, whether it’s making cocktails into to-go cocktails, or whether it’s working with craft distillers.
The drink also includes a splash of Fruitbelt sparkling tonic, the product of a woman-owned company that uses local orchard fruits, as well as the underused botanicals that sprout beneath the trees. According to Pompa, it isn’t a typical tonic: “It’s a very locally driven product that’s fantastic, has really good acidity and zippiness, and gives any cocktail that’s in that realm of a tonic this nice fruity, zippy lift to it, while having just a little bit of bitterness.”
Takoi works with a local farm two miles away to source most of its ingredients, a feat for a Thai-inspired restaurant (Bangkok winters bottom out at 73 degrees) and for a city once described as a food desert. “Michigan is a very DIY, producer-centric state — whether it’s with beer, whether it’s making cocktails into to-go cocktails, or whether it’s working with craft distillers,” Pompa says. Takoi’s particular DIY moment came last summer, when its beverage program began using a unique draft system to serve cocktails. The bar clarifies the drink’s components multiple times to avoid separation, then applies a little science to make sure everything tastes as intended when the cocktails come through the taps. This draft system provides carbonation to cocktails like the Cinematic Travels. And it also made it easier when Takoi created to-go six-packs of their signature cocktails during the pandemic. “All we needed to do was purchase a piece of canning equipment to make it work,” says Pompa. Of grabbing some premade cocktails for winter, he adds, “We highly doubt that you’re going to be able to keep them in your refrigerator for long without drinking them.”
- 1 ½ oz American Liquor Co. Vodka
- ½ oz Campari
- ¾ oz pineapple juice
- ¼ oz lime juice
- ½ oz cinnamon simple syrup
- 2 oz Fruitbelt Apple Tonic
- To prepare the cinnamon simple syrup: Break up a couple of cinnamon sticks on a cutting board. Warm a frying pan on medium heat and add the cinnamon. Toast the cinnamon until it becomes aromatic. Add the toasted cinnamon sticks to one part water in a saucepan and let the water come to a boil. Turn down the heat and add an equal part of sugar. Once the sugar dissolves, take the syrup off heat. Allow the syrup to cool, and then strain the cinnamon out.
- Combine vodka, Campari, pineapple juice, lime juice, and cinnamon simple syrup in a cocktail shaker.
- Pour over ice in a Collins glass and top with tonic.
- Garnish with whatever makes your drink look pretty, using any herbs or fruit you have available in your refrigerator.
Jessica Suarez Writer
Jessica Suarez is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York.
Grant Cornett Photographer
Grant Cornett is a photographer and director based in Upstate New York. He likes to take pictures of pristine detritus and austere moments.