Now that Via Matta, the 13-year-old Boston Italian dining staple at which Top Chef Masters alumnus Michael Schlow has for years plated food for celebrities and devoted locals alike, is set to close, it’s making way for some new blood. Greek blood.
And in a couple weeks when Doretta Taverna opens—his new Greek and Mediterranean cocktail bar and eatery inspired by his wife’s Greek roots—simple, clean Greek and Mediterranean flavors will be the song of the day. And for GM Megan Cormier, a 25-year local industry vet who cut her serious-cocktails teeth under the wing of Tom Schlesinger-Guidelli and Jackson Cannon of Island Creek Oyster Bar, that meant assembling a brain trust with the knowledge to take the clean flavors of Schlow’s menu and work with not only classic Greek spirits, but the best versions of those.
“Obviously we’re going to have Ouzos and Metaxa,” she says. “But [for us] it’s about sourcing the best ones, not just the ones that have been around a long time. There are [Metaxas] where if I poured you a shot of it, it’s basically like a rum and a sherry: a really beautiful smell, aromatic and complex, dry and nutty on the palate.”
Cormier says she and her team (made up of veteran bartenders from the Oak Room, Miracle of Science, and Barbara Lynch Gruppo) are experimenting and fine-tuning the list, and that they have already been locking in drinks that will expose Bostonians to Mastiha, an organic and natural root-based herbaceous sweet sap liquor, with usage dating back to Ancient Greece.
Their drinks list includes one called the Mastiha Sour (pictured), a silky and light libation with fresh egg whites, Mastiha root liquor, tequila, mint, and lemon. A Greek cocktail by way of Mexico, if you will. Which underscores Cormier’s perspective that it’s more about creating something new, rather than just going for traditional.
“If you go to Greece, not all cocktails are using all Greek ingredients,” she says. “But more importantly, the cocktails should reflect the place. Here, we’re making fun, clean cocktails that will be reflective of [the vision of] Doretta.”
DORETTA TAVERNA. SLATED TO OPEN LATE SEPTEMBER. 79 PARK PLAZA, BOSTON. FACEBOOK.COM/DORETTABOSTON
Dan is a freelance journalist and has written for publications including Vice, Esquire, the Daily Beast, Fast Company, Pacific Standard, MEL, Leafly, Thrillist, and DigBoston.