Drunk Abby: Cocktail Advice from the Spice Whisperer

Introducing "Drunk Abby," an advice column that will explore all of your drinking queries via the boozy wisdom of an expert.

Drinking is fraught with questions. How do I make a Margarita? How many Margaritas did I drink last night? What even happened last night?

We have answers. Introducing “Drunk Abby,” a regular column that will explore all of your queries via the advice of an expert. Post your questions in the comments below or get us on Twitter at @punch_drink and Facebook and tag your questions #drunkabby. We’ll pick five and post the questions and answers the following Monday. First up: Lior Lev Sercarz.

Who else has created and personalized spice blends for an upper echelon of chefs and establishments including Daniel Boulud, Eric Ripert, Paul Liebrandt, Poîlane Bakery and Zahav? No one. Only Lior Lev Sercarz, a man with a category of his own making: spice whisperer.

A master of pairing and blending flavors, Sercarz spends each day at his small, minimalist shop, La Boîte, in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood. There, in an immaculate basement lab, he dreams up the perfect alchemical combinations of herbs, salts and spices for his roster of elite clients, which he formulates after talking to each about flavors, feelings and what they’re trying to achieve with each blend.

But what does this have to do with drinking advice? Sercarz has worked with Brooklyn Brewery on a beer aptly named Cuvée La Boîte infused with his own spice blend of lemon, saffron, kaffir lime and Espelette peppers. He’s also collaborated with Jim Meehan, bartender and proprietor of New York City cocktail bar PDT, to create spice blends for some of the bar’s seasonal cocktails. So, the guy knows how to drink his way around a spice cabinet.

What is the best salt to rim a Margarita glass? Is there a substitute for Worcestershire in Bloody Marys? (Neither Meehan nor Sercarz likes Bloody Marys, so in an attempt to come to terms with the drink, they created a line of Bloody Mary spices to pair with different spirit bases including gin, aquavit and tequila.) When do herbs belong in cocktails? Ask away. The spice whisperer is on call.

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