Last fall, it introduced its first-ever cocktail program. Spirits director Westin Galleymore began creating ambitious menus that change frequently, riff on classics, and feature seasonal produce like winter satsumas.
“People want to drink darker, richer, and more intense flavors when it’s cold outside,” Galleymore said in November. He debuted a Satsuma Cobbler, a cold-weather apertivo cocktail made with Lustau Amontillado sherry, amaro, Turbinado sugar, and Knob Branch citrus fruit.
Hold on to your Collins glass, though, because last month Shepherd announced Underbelly would be relocating and unveiling a Mos Def-Yasiin Bey-style creative evolution later this year. In a few months, the restaurant will start going by the name UB Preserv, and will feature increasingly internationally minded menus. Galleymore will continue as spirits director, creating cocktails for Underbelly/UB Preserv and its sister restaurant, The Hay Merchant.
In the midst of these developments, we grabbed a moment with Gallymore. We wanted to hear what he wants to drink on his deathbed, the cocktail he’d love to retire forever, and the absolute best bar in the world (hint: it’s in a city that shares a long history with Houston).
1. What’s your desert-island cocktail?
Since I would be eating, drinking, and making friends with coconuts I probably wouldn’t want to throw booze into that mix… Probably would go with a Fog Cutter, keep me from getting foggy. Plus that would mean I would have sherry on said island too.
2. What’s the first drink you bought when you turned 21?
A six-pack of Sol; I was in Mexico on my 21st. Not really a set drinking age — at least it never felt like there was — on Isla Mujeres, so I am not sure if that counts.
3. FMK three cocktails: Margarita, Negroni, Manhattan.
Probably take the Margarita to bed, everyone has that one bad experience with tequila so it would probably be a fun time. Marry the Manhattan, I could live with that one. Then, with the most merciful kill ever done in history, the Negroni would be taken care of, peacefully.
4. You’re on death row. What’s your final drink?
Ramos Gin Fizz made by Terry Williams (of Anvil and Better Luck Tomorrow). Already have put a lot of thought into this one, sadly. I am deathly allergic to dairy, so that drink will definitely be one of my last.
5. You can only drink at one bar for the rest of your life. What bar is it, and why?
Arnaud’s French 75 in New Orleans. You know that scene in “The Shining,” where Jack Nicholson bellies up to the bar and he feels like it is his bar and they know what he likes to drink, like he has always been there. That is Arnaud’s for me. Instead of Jack Daniel’s, it would be French 75s.
6. What’s the best and worst bottle on your shelf?
Best I feel is relative. So I will say my favorite is probably a toss-up between the Lemorton 1972 Vintage Calvados or the Germain Robin (R.I.P) Small Blend No.1. They are both so beautiful, it’s hard to choose. The worst, Fernet-Branca. Once again, being relative here. I am not a fan of Fernet-Branca, at least in large quantities.
7. What drink will you never order again?
Whiskey Sour. I have never really liked them. The egg white, lemon, and whiskey end up producing a pretty noticeable chalky flavor. Just not my thing.