Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development




By Katy McCann
May 10, 2022

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Amir Babayoff

Modernizing classic cocktails isn’t an endeavor to be taken lightly, but the cocktail menu at Art Deco-inspired cocktail lounge Ophelia reflects the innovative mixology approaches of Amir Babayoff, Bar Director. Among his successful creations is the West Side Crusta, a riff on the cognac-based Brandy Crusta, which dates back to the late 1800s. Babayoff’s take features cognac infused with salted butter-caramel black tea, orange liqueur, lemon juice, Demerara sugar and ras el hanout. It’s garnished with an orange tuile topped with a dollop of dulce de leche cream and a raspberry.

The West Side Crusta is more than just a pretty face for Instagram. The overall flavor coalesces with Babayoff’s thoughtful blending of spirits and unique ingredients. Its vintage roots intersect with unique cocktail elements like the tea and ras el hanout spice blend. “The cognac brings forward the spice mix flavor, while the tea adds body and depth to the overall mouthfeel,” says Babayoff. “The exotic ingredient list and visual spectacle of the drink captivate guests and make this cocktail a big success on our menu.”


About The Author

Katy McCann

Katy McCann is a Maine-based writer, wellness and movement instructor, gardener and gin-and-tonic enthusiast.