Friday, January 21, 2011

Trix are for kids, cocktails are for grownups

beautiful speakeasy decor
Around the dinner table last night we were discussing the respective advantages of being an adult vs. being a child.  The usual examples were thrown around; paying bills vs. nonstop playing, having a job vs. having nothing but free time, freedom to make choices vs. being told what to do... You know the conversation; I'm sure you've been on at least one side of it at some point in your life.  Well, places like Employees Only tip the scales decidedly towards the benefits of being an adult.  Can you say swank cocktail bar?     
lovely fireplace reflection
my manhattan
Let me tell you upfront that I usually select wine or beer when I'm out and about.  I certainly enjoy a cocktail (or 2) but don't always like the taste of strong liquors.  Finding a drink that is well made and tasty in a world filled with barkeeps interested primarily with providing a strong drink, is not easy.  As I was planning last week's NYC visit, I did a little research (you do know that I'm a librarian, right?) trying to find a place for a well made cocktail and this spot in the West Village (510 Hudson Street aka lower 8th Avenue) sounded interesting and we added it to our evening's agenda.

The facade of the bar/restaurant is a little bit deceiving and had I not known the address, I'm confident we would have walked right by it and ended up at the Whitehorse Tavern or the Cowgirl Hall of Fame instead.  The front window has a neon light that says "Psychic" and there is no indication that a beautiful and tranquil cocktail space lies beyond the unassuming door.  As we entered, shortly after opening time (6 pm), many of the bar seats were taken, however we found three away from the door and settled in to peruse the cocktail list.  Because I have a fondness for bourbon, I went in planning to have a Manhattan, their signature cocktail.  I was intrigued with their description of the cocktail: Rittenhouse Rye stirred with Italian Vermouth, Orange CuraƧao & dashes of    Angostura Bitters.   Yes, please.  I can say without a doubt that this was the best cocktail I've ever had.  On the occasions when I do order a Manhattan, I usually ask for it to be a little sweet, generally accomplished by adding maraschino cherry juice to the shaker.  This Manhattan, though, was a dream - so incredibly well balanced and smooth that it has probably eternally spoiled me.  When Rachel joined us, she took one sip ( a small one, I was being greedy) of my drink and  promptly ordered one of her own.  Gee, Rach, we've come a long way since W 16th Street, huh?

Lisa stuck with the bourbon plan and had the Quiet Storm (Maker’s Mark Bourbon & Red Bush Tea-Infused  Vermouth served tall with Fresh Lemon Juice &  Ginger Beer), which she thoroughly enjoyed.  The bartenders were consummate professionals, perhaps not overly warm, but more than willing to indulge us when we questioned them numerous times about mysterious liquids and concoctions we observed them pouring.  We only stuck around for one drink, and didn't even glance at the food menu, but I do believe we found a winner.  And another reason to relish adulthood.  Cheers!

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