An idyllic small town on the shores of Lake Norman about half an hour north of Charlotte, Davidson, North Carolina, is not the first place you’d think a foodie power couple of national caliber would open a restaurant. But that’s just what Joe and Katy Kindred did with their namesake spot. Joe, a chef, and Katy, a sommelier, met in Chicago and worked in top restaurants in San Francisco before returning to Joe’s hometown to start Kindred in 2015. Just one year later, he earned his first James Beard Award Best Chef semifinalist nod.
But it’s not only Joe’s globetrotting menu and Katy’s phenomenal wine list that are winning the place so many accolades; general manager Blake Pope created a cocktail list that wows as well, ranging from a grüner veltliner wine-and-strawberry punch served as a frozen slushy to sophisticated after-dinner cocktails starring bitter Italian liqueurs. “I’m not really big on frills and the whole theatrical aspect of cocktails, like smoking things and sourcing weird ingredients,” says Pope. “It’s more about showcasing certain spirits in their own light.”
Pope’s showcase for rum is Kindred’s Downtown Daiquiri, which turns the traditionally strong, sweet, and tart cocktail into a refreshingly light summertime sipper. The key ingredient: a slug of coconut water, which contributes tropical-island flavor but also dilutes the drink, creating a nice lower-alcohol tipple that’s good for whiling away a hot afternoon. Pope’s recipe also calls for pineapple gum syrup, an old-school cocktail ingredient that adds an unctuous mouthfeel and subtle pineapple note. (Pope likes the Small Hand Foods brand, which is widely available in stores and online.)
“The Daiquiri is one of my favorite cocktails due to its simplicity and versatility,” Pope says. “Everybody seems to enjoy it: ladies, guys, old, young.”