Pandan-anana Boulevardier

This riff on the classic cocktail combines East, West, and the South

Photo: Jessica Blackstock

Madeline Fox and David Bowen met at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts as aspiring thespians before finding work in Macau, China. “I booked a job in a show out there as an actor,” Bowen explains. “We started going to all these crazy bars in Hong Kong and Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, and all these major cities out there, and really fell in love with the use of both hyper local and regional ingredients and the totally high-end cocktail scene.”

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After the couple’s time abroad and a stint working in New York City, the pair returned to Fox’s hometown of Winston-Salem, where that experience in China led them to open the Ginger Fox, a cocktail bar in the heart of downtown. The menu incorporates ingredients from their travels, especially one called pandan, an herb from Southeast Asia with a vanilla-like flavor used to great effect in the bar’s Pandan-anana Boulevardier. 

“It’s all of our travels put into one drink,” Bowen says. “The New York hospitality world is represented by the negroni boulevardier; the Southeast Asian influence by the pandan and the banana; and it’s a bourbon drink, so it’s a super Southern take on this international concept.”

The couple will soon bring this cocktail and others to their new dual-concept speakeasy set to open in June: Easytalk will serve a straightforward menu of eight specialty cocktails prepared in batches that can be served in minutes; the Talk Bar will have no menu but will allow guests to have a drink prepared especially for them with recommendations from the staff. 

photo: Jessica Blackstock


  • Pandan-anana Boulevardier (Yield: 1 cocktail)

    • 1 oz. bourbon, preferably Evan Williams Bottled-in-Bond

    • ½ oz. banana-washed rum (recipe follows, or use Banane du Brésil)

    • ½ oz. Campari

    • 1 oz. pandan-infused sweet vermouth (recipe follows)

    • 4 drops 1-to-5 saline solution (recipe follows)

    • Orange twist, for garnish

  • For the infused vermouth

    • 4 oz. pandan leaves (can be sourced online)

    • 1 750 ml. bottle sweet vermouth, like Dolin Rouge

  • For the banana-washed rum

    • 5 very ripe bananas

    • 1 bottle Goslings 151 (or other overproof rum)

    • 1 pinch salt


  1. Make the infused vermouth: Soak the pandan leaves in the bottle of vermouth for a few days in a food-safe vessel and allow to infuse for 24 hours in the fridge, tasting periodically. Once you’re happy with the taste, strain through a cheesecloth, return to the original bottle, label/date it, and store in the fridge for up to 1 month. 

  2. Make the banana-washed rum: Peel and chop the bananas and combine in a blender with a full bottle of rum and a generous pinch of salt. Blend on high for 1 minute. Transfer to a food-safe vessel and store overnight in the fridge. After 24 hours, carefully strain the rum through a cheesecloth first, then strain again through a coffee filter. Store in the freezer or fridge for up to 1 month. 

  3. Make the saline solution: Just as you would make a simple syrup, combine one part salt to five parts water; Bowen recommends mixing 100 grams of water and 20 grams of salt until dissolved.

  4. Combine all ingredients except the garnish in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Stir for 20 to 30 seconds. Strain over a large ice cube in a rocks glass and garnish with an orange twist.