Cocktail Issue 2018: The dark side (VIDEO)

At Ichicoro Ane, you'll know this cocktail when you see it.

click to enlarge Ichicoro Ane's resident cocktail guru JohnMcKinnon prepares the Black Mage. - Chris Fasick
Chris Fasick
Ichicoro Ane's resident cocktail guru JohnMcKinnon prepares the Black Mage.

Finally, it’s time to talk Ichicoro Ane. Both sides of the bay are no doubt familiar with the regional, thoughtfully built bowls that Ichicoro Ramen churns out in Tampa, and the Seminole Heights flagship manages to keep its wait times pleasant, too, with a talented bar squad and creative cocktails — despite the absence of a liquor license.

Ane at Station House, on the other hand, has a fully loaded selection of spirits at its disposal in downtown St. Pete. The intimate food and drink hub’s intriguing Black Mage — which gets a you’ll-know-it-when-you-see-it hue from activated charcoal-infused amaro — is just the tip of the iceberg.

“It almost has that sizzling fajita effect,” said John McKinnon, who oversees Ane’s cocktail program. “Someone sees one and they start asking questions about it.”

As stunning as it is delicious, the Black Mage was created to embody an iconic character in the Final Fantasy genre. But the drink ain’t all about looks. Balance was also a big part of McKinnon’s inspiration.

“Visually, the charcoal is what makes the cocktail so striking... and then with the amaro and the IPA it’s just an awesome combination,” the resident cocktail guru said. “You’re getting aromatics, spice, citrus notes — a lot of complexity of flavors.”

What’s more is that the Black Mage and its fellow cocktail compatriots — which pay homage to the uber-popular video game franchise as well — are meant to complement and stand up to the intense, bold flavors of Ane’s ramen and izakaya-style plates. That’s why patrons will notice many punchy, tiki-esque selections with tropical components.

“Those flavors work really, really well with ramen,” McKinnon said.

click to enlarge Cocktail Issue 2018: The dark side (VIDEO)
Chris Fasick

Black Mage

Makes 1

1 1/2 ounces activated charcoal-infused amaro (Meletti)

3/4 ounce pineapple turbinado syrup

3/4 ounce lime juice

2 ounces IPA (Green Bench Sunshine City)

In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, add all ingredients. Hard shake for 4 to 6 seconds. In a rocks glass filled with ice, strain in cocktail. Garnish with 2 pineapple leaves.

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