Sweet Basil Martini

Tim Harris — or Timmy, as I like to call him, shouting it out like they do on South Park — has a passion for creating delicious things for his customers at Jax. But he isn't a chef in the traditional sense. His creations are liquid, because he's a "bar chef." Tim doesn't use that term lightly, and neither do I; the drinks that he and compatriot James Lee have been cooking up using local ingredients and fresh flavors usually found in the kitchen, not behind the bar, are too seriously good for that. Among my favorites: Timmy's Bug Juice ($7), a concoction of pineapple juice, bitters, ginger ale and a secret, homemade spiced rum that combines five rums, brown sugar and spices; and Le Chic ($9), made with Charbay pomegranate vodka, PAMA pomegranate liqueur and Momokawa Silver sake. But the very best cocktail Tim has invented (so far) has to be the Sweet Basil Martini ($9). Though gin normally scares me off, this mélange of muddled Thai basil and lemon with Hendrick's gin, Lillet Blanc, simple syrup and soda water was the perfect ending to a perfect evening with my favorite chef. Bar none.