The Fear and Trembling cocktail made with lamb jus Credit: Cory Popp

“There’s no shortage of lamb juice floating around” at Union Sushi + Barbeque Bar, bartender Ken Griggs says. Union has lamb chops on the menu, and its sister restaurant next door, the Franklin Room, serves both lamb chops and a lamb shank. So when STK Chicago‘s Chris Kyles challenged Griggs to create a cocktail with lamb jus—or as Griggs likes to call it, “meat juice”—the bartender had no trouble locating some. 

The flavor of lamb jus is rich and savory, says Griggs, who chose a peaty scotch whiskey to pair with it. “Those heavy, smoky tones can cover anything.”

Griggs recently traveled to Argentina, where he ate lots of grilled meat—which he now associates with Fernet Branca and Dr. Pepper, a popular drink combination in that country. To sweeten the cocktail, he simmered Dr. Pepper until it was reduced by half; he added a touch of Fernet by rinsing the glass with it.

A little lemon juice and a sprig of mint—a natural pairing with lamb—finished the drink. Griggs called it Fear and Trembling, a reference to the Kierkegaard work of the same name that deals with the biblical tale in which Abraham sacrifices a ram instead of his son. As for the flavor, Griggs says, it’s “really savory—bigger than I was hoping it would be, but you’re not going to hide lamb jus.”

Who’s next:

Griggs has challenged Julia Momose of GreenRiver to create a cocktail with uni (sea urchin gonads).

Fear and Trembling

1.5 oz Longrow Peated Cambeltown Single Malt Scotch Whisky
.75 oz reduced Dr. Pepper
.5 oz lamb jus
.5 oz lemon juice
Fernet Branca (for rinse)
Mint leaf (for garnish)

Pour a little Fernet Branca in a cocktail glass; swirl and discard the excess. Add all other ingredients (except mint leaf) to a shaker with ice, shake and double strain into glass. Garnish with mint leaf.