Star-studded OpeningsDecember 15, 2009 By: Jack Robertiello
Washington, D.C.’s, Againn debuted this fall with an artisanal cocktail program created by San Francisco beverage consultants Scott Baird and Josh Harris of the Bon Vivants. Hired to bring a West Coast style to the Washington cocktail scene, the two focused on fresh, seasonal ingredients, handcrafted drinks, a contemporary approach to classic libations, and an extensive backbar of spirits. All cocktails were created with the history and cocktail culture of the United Kingdom in mind. Among the many house-made tinctures, syrups, sauces, creams and powders used are a vanilla–rooibos tincture, madras curry powder and Scotch bonnet sauce. Signature cocktails include the Mayflower Martini (Osmanthus-infused Plymouth Gin, Dolin Blanc, Dolin Dry and lemon bitters) and the Bare Knuckle Boxer (house-blended madras curry powder infused in John L. Sullivan Irish Whiskey, Rothman & Winter Orchard Apricot Liqueur, Dolin Dry and Peychaud’s Bitters).
Silk Road, the globally inspired restaurant led by Chef Martin Heierling and set in Vdara in Las Vegas’ CityCenter, is a mash-up of contemporary Mediterranean cuisine with Middle Eastern and Asian influences. Signature cocktails employ passion fruit, guava, ginger and rosemary, and house-made mixers like Pan Pan Soda and East India Fixer. Drinks include Vietnamese Mint & Pluot Plum Mojito (Flor de Cana Four Year Old Rum muddled with Vietnamese mint, lime juice, pluots, sugar and soda), Bleeding Tarocco Martini (Charbay Blood Orange Vodka, Charbay Meyer Lemon Vodka, blood orange juice, Meyer lemon juice, cinnamon allspice simple syrup, blood orange zest rim) and Maple Rye Manhattan (Sazerac Rye, maple syrup, maraschino liqueur and lemon juice).
NYC’s Pegu Club owner Audrey Saunders, with help from NY consulting bartenders Christy Pope and Chad Solomon, has been working with chef Mark Peel of LA’s Campanile to open Tar Pit in LA. Rum is seriously in the mix, and Peel says Saunders has developed “the first drinkable cocktail made with Cynar.” Saunder’s tipple no doubt will be great, but there are other artichoke liqueur tinkerers out there who would dispute the “first drinkable” notion.
Here’s another bourbon- and rye-heavy spirit and cocktail menu, this one from the recently opened Manhattan venue Vintry Wine and Whiskey. In addition to lots and lots of whiskies, there’s the Vintry GQ (Black Bush Irish Whiskey, Q Tonic, basil and lime) and the Flaming Bubinga (Benromach Single Malt Scotch, Blume Marillen Apricot Eau-De-Vie, lemon juice and blood orange juice).
Portland’s new enoteca, Accanto, gets some serious Italian accented cocktails for its opening. There’s the Bitter Bocaccio (Aperol, triple sec, lime juice, St-Germain, lemon twist) and Agro Strega (Rye, Strega, fresh sour and Peychaud’s Bitters). Accanto manager Chris Grant and lead bartender Rob Fuller collaborated on the drinks.