Our neighborhood bar delivers a delicious cocktail experience yet again. Like many other service industry folk, we’re lured to this watering hole for the daily specials and the service industry discounts (I could hug the person who thought of giving a discount to servers and bartenders looking for a drink after work). If you stop by after 11pm, you’ll find a crowd of local bartenders and servers relaxing on couches and bar stools; upon entering the small space, they greet each other and patrons they may have served at another spot earlier in the day. It’s a great crowd of locals who know their stuff, and don’t beg the bartender for Bud Light.
During our last visit to Bar Tonique, we enjoyed the Bacon Bloody Mary [Bacon Infused Vodka, Fresh Juiced Tomatoes, Jalapeño], the Blood and Sand [Dewar's 12 Year Old Blended Malt Scotch, Cinzano Italian Vermouth, Luxardo Cherry, Orange Juice], the Whiskey Kiss [Sazerac Rye, Green Chartreuse, Benedictine, Lemon], and The Last Word [Aviation Gin, Green Chartreuse, Luxardo Cherry, Lime]. Visit our previous article to read about a Sunday afternoon spent at Bar Tonique.
Our last visit left us craving a few more cocktails from the elaborate menu that features Prohibition era cocktails, homemade syrups and tinctures, fresh squeezed juices, and quality spirits. So what did we enjoy this time?
We started the evening with a Bitter Harvest [Bernheim's Wheat Whiskey, St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram, Averna Amaro, Bitter Truth Orange Bitters], a sophisticated cocktail meant for sipping. Selecting this cocktail was an easy choice because I love every component of the drink. Although I am a fan of Averna, I was concerned that the cocktail might be a little too sweet for what I was craving so I asked the bartender to restrain the sweeter ingredients. He delivered perfectly. The warming burn of the Bernheim’s Wheat Whiskey quickly faded into notes of vanilla and caramel. The amber-hued cocktail smelled of cloves, cherry cola, and circus candy. The flavor was impeccable. The whiskey was smooth, yet offered layers of complexity. The finish was similar to the aftertaste you get after chewing on a stick of old-fashioned pink bubblegum, and I mean that as a compliment. I’m not a fan of bubblegum usually, but the flavor of the cocktail invited you back for more. Amazing flavors, amazing aromas. You can’t go wrong with this cocktail.
What next? Well, it was a Tuesday which is important for one reason, and one reason only — Whiskey World Wars (Whiskey Flights From Around the World). The whiskey selections rotate every week, so you never know what the bartender is going to pour. This week, he selected Four Roses Single Barrel Kentucky Bourbon (United States, obviously), Crown Royal Special Reserve (Canada), Singleton 12 Year Old Speyside Scotch (Scotland), and Knappogue Castle 12 Year Old Irish Whiskey (Ireland). In comparison to the other whiskeys, the Crown Royal was flat and uninteresting. The Four Roses was quite powerful so we diluted it with a few drops of water to bring out more of the bourbon’s subtleties. (With that in mind, this bourbon is the perfect choice for a Bourbon and Branch cocktail [ 2 oz Bourbon, 4 oz Water].) Our favorite was the Singleton 12 Year Old Speyside Scotch. Sipping that Scotch took me back to the days of peeling peaches at my Mawmaw’s house for making pies and homemade ice cream. It was damn good and disappeared too quickly.
By 2am, it was getting late for us. We decided a creamy, spicy beverage would be the perfect night cap before we walked home. The obvious selection was a New Orleans staple — the Brandy Milk Punch [Landy's VSOP Cognac, House-Made Vanilla Syrup, Milk, Fresh Grated Nutmeg]. How can you not fall in love with a creamy, spiced beverage that warms your cheeks? Our mistake was only ordering one to share.
Thank you Bar Tonique for another delightful evening. Drink at Bar Tonique, and drink to good health!