Find tiki drinks galore at Saison's spring break, starting this Sunday. From left: Jungle Bird, Zombie, Chartruth. (Photo courtesy: Saison)
[3/10 Update: Guest bartender Laura Newman will now only join the spring break fun on Sunday, March 13.]
If there was ever a restaurant looking to party, it’s Saison. It's done vinyl nights. Wine nights. Southeast Asian street food nights. Star Wars nights. It bought frozen drink machines for its sister market next door, in case you want a piña colada at 11 a.m. And now, those machines will make their way into the restaurant for the five-day tiki torch-lit extravaganza known as Saison Spring Break.
Beverage Director James Kohler and bartender Sara Kerfoot dreamed up this beautiful dream, slated for Sunday, March 13 through Thursday, March 17. “It’s our end-of-winter transition," Kohler says.
There will be a 12-drink menu with classic tiki options, Saison-original tiki-inspired cocktails and a few new things, all available between $10 and $20. And just on Sunday, instead of the restaurant's regular dinner service, Mike Braune from The Roosevelt will be making hot dogs — "Braune Dogs" — for $10 to $12, plus a few sides to go with them. Braune’s Sunday night menu — served 'til midnight — will feature a variety of beef, lamb and pork hot dogs, all of which can be topped with a mountain of goodies including bacon-dill relish, crispy fried onions, kimchi, beer kraut, sherry paprika aioli, short-rib chili and foie gras paté. The Monday to Thursday dining menu will be Saison’s usual fare, although a hot dog special or two may pop up at the bar.
Bartender Laura Newman from New York City’s tiki tycoon Mother of Pearl will add more sparkle: She’ll be guest bartending alongside Kerfoot on Sunday and Monday, ensuring the biggest, brightest, booziest beverages imaginable. Expect familiar characters like Zombies and Jungle Birds, plus Saison concoctions such as the Malibu Barbie Dreamhouse (multiple rums and the essence of the tropics) and The Chartruth (a Chartreuse pineapple bomb), as well as the Triple Windsor (funky rum, cinnamon), a borrowed cocktail from New York City's now-shuttered El Cobre.
“It’s spring break — a little tiki escape — right here in Richmond,” Kohler says. Once Saison Spring Break comes to an end, as all things must, the winter menu will crop back up for a day or two before the restaurant and bar releases its spring menus, around March 21. So do yourself a favor until then and make plans to slurp down a giant, frothy, slushy something while praying in earnest for this weather to sail us straight into spring, and don't forget to put the lime in the coconut.
Saison is located at 23 W. Marshall St. Tiki week begins this Sunday at 5 p.m.
Correction: The Triple Windsor cocktail is original to El Cobre, not Saison. The post has been updated to reflect this.