Stepping through the giant wooden door and into the posh interior of Ember on St. Simons Island, one certainly gets a big-city vibe. The decor and design are a little out of the norm for the Southern-grown beach town. From the expansive glowing bar to the enormous wood burning stove, one definitely feels a little fancy — yet relaxed.
The mood is even more chill as one saunters through the open doorway to the connecting tequila and taco bar, Más. There, the atmosphere is a little more casual with red walls and long, community tables adjacent to a game room, it’s a prime spot for good times and shenanigans.
The locations are two sides of the same coin and the brainchild of Tyler Roberson. The owner says the goal of both spots is simple — to offer up the freshest flavors in both food and drink.
“Our approach with Ember which transferred over to Más when it opened, was that we wanted to serve fresh and handcrafted food and drinks,” Roberson said.
Both have garnered attention, becoming local favorites, but the drinks, especially those using in-house infusions have really gotten rave reviews.
“We didn’t want to put any of those sugary, premixes in our drinks. We wanted to make it all in-house from fresh ingredients and juices. The flavor is just completely different,” she said. “It’s not magic ... it’s just fresh.”
At Ember, an assortment of infusions keep patrons coming back. The restaurant’s manager and bartender, Heather Traylor, said they are certainly a favorite.
“All our specialty cocktails we use as much in-house and made in-house items as we can. We like to use as many Georgia made products as we can,” Traylor said. “The infusion really pulls out the flavor of what you are infusing.”
The line-up includes strawberry basil vodka, jalapeño ginger vodka, blueberry jalapeño tequila and a pecan bourbon. Each is contained in small jars and aged to perfection before serving.
Over at Más, infusions are equally big.
“We have seasonal infusions ... we don’t have a lot of cold weather flavors but do have lot of brights ones that go well with summer,” Ansley Neidhardt, manager and bartender at Más, said. “We have over 50 different tequilas and all of them are aged differently.”
For those looking to recreate the taste at home, the ladies have a couple of recipes they are willing to share. For Traylor at Ember, it is their Georgia Mule. And for Neidhart, it is the All Thai’d Up featuring Mezcal tequila. Both bring big flavor and are easy enough to recreate.
“The Mule is our take on a Moscow Mule but just closer to home. The pecan and the peach really complement each other well and there’s that South Georgia theme,” Traylor said. “It’s sweet but not too sweet. The pecan bourbon creates a nice, balanced flavor.”
Neidhart’s drink offers the same and it will be a new treat for customers.
“It’s never been served here before ... it’s new for spring,” she said.
The Georgia Mule
• 2 oz pecan bourbon
• 1 oz peach liqueur
• 2 dashes peach bitters
• Ginger beer
• Candied ginger (for garnish)
In a shaker, combine the bourbon, liqueur, bitters and some ice. Shake and twirl until thoroughly mixed. Place a few cubes of ice into a mason jar and pour the mix over the top. Fill the rest of the space with the ginger beer. Stir and mix together. Garnish the mason jar with candied ginger and lime.
All Thai’d Up
• 2 oz Mezcal tequila
• 2 oz Pineapple juice
• 1 oz Bird’s Eye Chili Simple Syrup
• 1 oz agave nectar
• Chili salt for rim of glass
Directions: Mix the tequila, pineapple juice, simple syrup and agave nectar in a shaker. Shake the ingredients, mixing them well. Pour into a tall glass over ice. Garnish with chili salt on the rim of glass.