Laura Unterberg is bar lead at The Fox Bar & Cocktail Club in East Nashville.
What was your first job in the beverage or hospitality industry?
A barista — early mornings and unlimited access to caffeine was a risky move as a teen.
What is your favorite spirit to work with at the moment?
I’ve put a lot of love into developing our Tennessee whiskey offerings (I think it is a fascinating category that doesn’t get nearly enough respect), but our current menu shows a lot of love to cocktails featuring brandies from across the Americas.
You like to incorporate hyper-local sourcing and fresh ingredients into drinks; what are some of your recent creations?
Our next menu features mezcal with late-winter persimmon, a fruit native to Middle Tennessee and different from Japanese persimmon, which didn’t arrive widely in the U.S. until the 1960s.
Foraging can be a great way to stay hyper-local with some rules. Be extremely confident and informed of what you’re harvesting, make sure to harvest ethically, leaving enough to re-seed the area for next year’s crop, and ask permission if you’re anywhere near private property.
You created some interesting spirit-free drinks for the Fox Bar; what is the key to making them taste good or seem more like the spirited cocktails?
I think the key is to not aim for them to taste like alcohol. It’s not alcohol so aim to create a delicious and surprising beverage that satisfies on its own without being a poor imitation of something else.
What’s your current go-to cocktail or beverage?
At home, it’s usually samples of products that I’m considering for the bar or just a simple vermouth and soda.
Would you share one of the most popular cocktails at the Fox Bar, or one of your favorite drink recipes?
At The Fox we love to make classic Daiquiris for friends old and new. It’s light, refreshing, acidic, and sending out a round of minis is our favorite way to say hello!
- 2 ¼ oz. Rum the Fox Bar blends its own with Appleton Reserve, Rhum Clement Blanc and El Dorado 5yr, which it then rests over pineapple skins for 24 hours
- ¾ oz. Rich simple syrup 1.5:1
- ¾ oz. Lime juice
- 1 Lime peel swath shake with the peel in the shaker tin
- Combine ingredients in a shaker.
- Shake vigorously over ice.
- Strain through a fine-mesh strainer into a chilled Nick & Nora glass.