Thursday September 23, 2010
Patterson House, Nashville
Today's bartenders don't just pour drinks. They make their own tinctures and bitters. They scour eBay for out-of-print recipe books and antique glassware. They are alchemists and madmen.
If you don't like cocktails, you've been drinking the wrong ones. Like jazz, another great American idea, they were built for riffing. For variation. They aren't just sweet like mojitos or boozy like martinis. They can be sour. Savory. Herbaceous. Bitter. Spicy. Dry. Smoky. There is nothing in a glass more versatile.
Ice may be the most important part of a cocktail. In most drinks, it's the majority of what's in your glass. Any place that uses cubes with holes in the middle or with oversize dimples can't make a good cocktail—it's physics: The stuff just melts too fast. The best places carve ice out of huge blocks or use Kold-Draft machines, which produce perfect crystal-clear cubes.
Old-timey accuracy matters, but the drink matters more. Handlebar mustaches, arm garters, entrances with passwords—these things can quickly sour into preciousness. If a drink was good—balanced and true—we drank. If it wasn't, we didn't.
Bartenders are better concierges to their cities than actual concierges.
Charcoal pills do nothing. Sleep is the only hangover cure, and the noon checkout time at hotels, for that reason, is cruel.
Most important: We learned that every city in this country deserves a bar that cares deeply about the craft of the cocktail. It brings the social fabric of a metropolis together and adds to the culinary allure of a town in a way that a good beer bar, wine bar, or dive bar just can't. There's no substitute for a well-made drink. There really isn't. If you don't believe us, let's discuss it one evening over a Gin Gin Mule.
The list:1: Zig Zag Café - Seattle
2: Angel’s Share - New York
3: The Violet Hour - Chicago
4: Clover Club - Brooklyn
5: The Alembic - San Francisco
6: Death & Co - New York
7: PDT - New York
8: PX - Alexandria, VA
9: Comstock Saloon - San Francisco
10: Holeman & Finch - Atlanta
11: Tiki-ti - Los Angeles
12: The Patterson House - Nashville
13: Eastern Standard - Boston
14: Rickhouse - San Francisco
15: Anvil - Houston
16: Arnaud’s French 75 - New Orleans
17: Elixir - San Francisco
18: Columbia Room - Washington, D.C.
19: Cole’s (The Varnish)- Los Angeles
20: The Whistler - Chicago
21: Drink - Boston
22: Pegu Club - New York
23: The Edison - Los Angeles
24: The Franklin Mortgage & Investment Co. - Philadelphia
25: Needle and Thread - Seattle
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