Josh Loughlin has taken the drink program at Dune to another level over the past year, and this season the downtown restaurant will feature a cocktail menu free of sugars, sweeteners, and syrups. Josh isn’t re-inventing the wheel, he’s simply proving that sugar isn’t flavor. Like many bartenders, Josh was taught that using flavored syrups or sugar helped balance a drink. “I absolutely maxed out that technique,” Josh said. “First off, the flavor is going to be weak. Secondly the drinks are going to be sweet. It’s kind of a double edged sword.”

Josh expressed that in order to continue to grow in the world of mixology “I had to find a more sophisticated way to add flavor.” Inspired by Dave Arnold “the godfather of modern cocktails,” Josh had a revelation. He would begin to pull natural flavor from fruits, herbs, and vegetables by clarifying them. This is the basic separation of liquid and solid, and it can be done using a machine called a centrifuge. Unhappy with the expensive, loud and clunky versions of the past, Arnold recently designed a modern centrifuge called a Spinzall. Josh now has two Spinzalls with another one on the way.

Complementing a dinner menu full of worldly flavor, Josh’s cocktail menu takes guests on an adventure around the world of mixology. Keep and eye out for some of his new favorites that have hit the menu. The Late Checkout: dark rum, toasted coconut vodka, organic clarified mango, coconut cream, and tiki bitters. His version of a real tiki drink with a real tiki mug (that you can take home!) The Thai Basil Lemonade: cucumber vodka, yellow chartreuse, basil, mint, and a little vitamin C (to keep the beautiful color); all clarified. It’s refreshing and herbaceous and gets a few sprays of chartreuse to awaken your senses upon first sip.

Josh’s ambition has driven him to challenge the norm and it is clear he’s on a mission to move the needle for the island’s cocktail culture. He’s put his menu in a league of its own as far as balance, flavor and quality. “There are so many amazing ingredients and spirits to balance out drinks and add a sweet component. It’s totally unnecessary to rely on white processed sugar and syrups to transmit flavor, if you’re willing to put in the work.”

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