The Riff

An Autumn Riff on the Classic Old Fashioned

By: Jacob Hollifield

Before Kursten Berry was crafting the classic old fashioned at the bars of her mother Deborah VanTrece’s Atlanta restaurants, she was on the runway modeling from Paris to Milan to New York City, set on forging her own path in her own industry. Between shows and during her downtime, though, Berry always found herself trying new restaurants and bars, fueling an inherited passion that she’d later pursue.

Meanwhile, back at home, her mother was making home-cooked meals, freezing them, packing the dishes in dry ice, and shipping them to Berry in New York as a symbol of support. “I came behind the bar to play around at first,” says Berry, “and I was like, you know what, I really like this, and it ended up being my creative outlet and I thought, “I’m going to go for it.’”

Berry now splits her time between Twisted Soul Cookhouse & Pours and VanTrece’s newest concept, Oreatha’s at the Point—an ode to her own her own mother and mothers around the world. Next, Dulcet Down Under, a speakeasy dreamed up by Berry, is set to in Atlanta in fall 2022.

When tasked with a fall-forward riff, Berry’s brain went straight to her favorite seasonal vegetable: sweet potato. In her mind, an old fashioned is “the perfect drink,” so swapping out the plain simple syrup for sweet potato syrup from woman-owned, New Orleans-based El Guapo (Berry’s go-to) was a natural fit.

Then came the vanilla for warmth, citrus for complexity, cognac for booziness, and almond milk for a light creaminess—all combined, it’s Berry’s ideal way to bundle and brace for winter while enjoying the harvest season.

The Classic Old Fashioned, Three Ways

Kursten Berry shaking up a cocktail at her Atlanta bar.
Image Credit: Shell Royster
Berry's Classic Old Fashioned, garnished with a brandied cherry and orange peel
Image Credit: Shell Royster

Classic Old Fashioned

To Berry, an old fashioned is “the perfect drink,” and her simple classic old fashioned recipe a delicious treat year round.

Berry's Sweet Potato Old Fashioned, a fall riff on the classic old fashioned
Image Credit: Shell Royster

Sweet Potato Old Fashioned

This seasonally ready, fall old fashioned gives uses a sweet potato simple syrup to put an earthy, rich spin on the traditional old fashioned.

Berry's Sweet Potato Bourbon Milk Punch, a large-format riff on the classic old fashioned.
Image Credit: Shell Royster

Sweet Potato Bourbon Milk Punch

Berry’s sweet potato milk punch is spicy, warm, sweet, and a delightful companion to curling up by the fire during the fall season.

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