Wine and beer have been natural companions with food for centuries, cocktails are notoriously challenging to pair (with the odd exception, like Margaritas and Mexican food). Higher alcohol can wreck havoc on delicate flavors, and the higher acidity typical of juice-based drinks can throw a meal off balance. Even with a move to sherry and lower alcohol cocktails, things don't always work as well as a glass of wine. But just because it doesn't usually work doesn't mean it can't be done well.
At Maven, bar manager Kate Bolton does an impressive job working with the kitchen, led by co-owner David Kurtz, to ensure that flavors and textures find a complementary balance. The Global Warming ($11, aged gin, sake, reisling, absinthe sorbet) has tart and herbal quality that sets off the shiso and apple in the Scallop Crudo ($12) making the dish even more impressive, as does the after-dinner drink and the dessert duo of the Beach & Hyde ($9, Four Roses Bourbon, Firelit Coffee Liqueur, vanilla, egg white, orange) paired with the Mayan Chocolate ($6, chocolate cake with cardamom ice cream).