Years ago, John Gertsen would stop by and see me after his shift ended at Salamander which used to be next to the Boston Public Library's old building entrance. When he moved on to No.9 Park, even closer, the tradition continued. A bourbon and a high life, I would see him walking in and try to have his drink on the bar before he could get down the stairs. Some things haven't changed- although we don't see each other as much with busy schedules, he's still enjoying the same after work libation. What has changed is his notoriety and well deserved accolades, Drink was just named the best cocktail bar in the world at Tales of the Cocktail. Best bar in the world. Wow. I can't argue with the award, behind the bar the other night was a group of all stars: Palmer Matthews, Ezra Starr,
Will Thompson. Ezra made us a Southside and Dejeuner, both light, citrusy and elegant, perfect refreshment for a summer evening.
2 oz gin
.75 oz simple syrup
.75 oz lime juice
4 mint sprigs
Muddle mint lightly with the simple, add and shake all ingredients with ice and double strain into a coupe.
.75 grapefruit juice
.75 St. Germain
Shake all ingredients with ice and serve in a cocktail glass. Substitute lemon for the grapefruit and I call it a Shaddock.
Many deserving congratulations to the whole team at Drink, and I always have Mr. Gertsen's shift drink waiting.
I always loved New Year's Eve growing up, not only because my family was all together, but also we would play charades, do old puzzles and I got to eat way too many 'After Eight' mints. One might expect that I will regale stories with memories of some spectacular cocktail, but chances were my parents, aunt, uncle and grandmother were drinking wine, sherry or as the fashion in the late 70s, Dubonnet Rouge on the rocks. I could drink as much 'Bitter Lemon' soda as I wanted, though.
However, the absolutely best part, which I continue practicing today, was our tradition of welcoming the new year. For example: at midnight when I was ten, my father had me open the front door of our house letting in 1977 while he simultaneously opened the back door ushering out 1976. I encourage you to do the same this year with 2012 and 2013.
As for cocktails on the last evening of 2012, bubbles are in order, and 90+ Cellars has been challenging bartenders to come up with a sparkling cocktail using their Prosecco.
Tatiana Ciccone at Storyville has a delicious Pear Chai Sparkler:
1.5 oz White Rum
1 oz Pear Puree
.25 oz Chai concentrate
90+ Prosecco float
Happy New Year!
You can tell a lot about a bar when you order a water first. Sometimes, with graceful kindness, it appears with a smile and "please let me know if I can do anything else for you." Emerald Lounge at the Revere Hotel certainly has a late night clubby feel, but on a snowy afternoon that level of service felt more like a comfortable neighborhood bar.
Thank you Tyresse.
Equally as friendly and welcoming, is Emerald’s beverage director, Teodora Bakardzhieva, an industry veteran who has worked bars and clubs from the now shuttered Club Trio to Locke Ober to Mantra. She slips behind the bar and as quickly appears her Fig Sidecar, featuring fig infused vanilla cognac and Pineau des Charantes (fresh press grape juice where fermentation has been stopped by adding brandy). The drink is rounded out with lemon juice and a terrifically over-the-top gold sugared rim. Sure, a nod to late night club antics, but it really works. Balanced, rich caramel and fig flavors cut by lemon acidity.
Sometimes you have to go big or go home.
After a pleasant moment chatting with Bryan Barbieri the hotel's PR director, snowing, cold, we decide it's time for bourbon. Teodora had already sensed I needed a winter warmer- her Fallen Angel- with Angel's Envy bourbon (I need to do a future post on this delicious whiskey), Amaro del Capo (a bitter from Calabria- not sweet but shows orange and citrus), and honey syrup. The Angel's Envy rests for a few months in Port casks, so it's rich caramel, vanilla spice of the bourbon paired with an almost maple syrup like quality. This, the bitter and honey, make a wonderful cold weather reviver.
Emerald is highly designed from the center piece stainless sculptural work, mass art student designed uniforms, to the hidden Ruby Bar (you have to stumble upon it). The sound system is unprecedented and the room is slick- you could be in Vegas, baby. But it's all about service, as Teodora mentions "often clubs will stop serving craft cocktails at 10:00 turning to vodka sodas, etc." Not here: jiggers, fresh ingredients, care.
I can only imagine how busy they are at 1:00am on a Saturday, so, more my speed, maybe meet me here on a Tuesday or Wednesday after work.
Now that's a date.