Chestnut, Brooklyn

Jen and I dine out a lot, and one thing I want to discuss in this space is the cocktail menus in the restaurants we frequent.

We’ve all been to eateries that don’t have a full bar; they’re beer and wine only or–horrors!–they have no liquor license at all.

Worse, in some ways, are the places that serve spirits but fail to train their staff on how to sell, mix, or serve cocktails. You ask for anything more complicated than a martini, cosmo, or gin-and-tonic, and the waitron squints at you and says, “We don’t serve that here.”

With that in mind, it’s always fun to find a place where the owners think as much about the bar as they do the kitchen. Over at the blog The Art of Drink, Darcy’s been writing about his experiences in managing the bar at a new restaurant, Mint. It’s fun and interesting to watch how Darcy has crafted a good cocktail menu for his customers.

On Saturday, Jen and I went to a Brooklyn restaurant, Chestnut. (Check out New York‘s review, if you wanna know more.)

Chestnut knows food, but Chestnut also knows cocktails. Check out this list from their drinks menu:

Negroni – Campari, Damrak Gin and Punt e Mes
Dirty Martini – Ketel One Vodka, dry vermouth and olive juice
Fresh OJ Margarita – Silver Tequila, triple sec, fresh orange and lime juice
Bourbon Old Fashioned – Wild Turkey 101, dash Angostura Bitters
Rye Presbyterian – Michter’s “US 1″ Rye, Ginger Ale and Crystallized Ginger
Champagne Cocktail – Champagne, Angostura Bitters and a sugar cube
Phantom Tollbooth – Absente, fresh orange juice and Chartreux V.E.P.
Sparkling Sanlúcar – Gruet Brut and Manzanilla Sherry

Jen got the Sparkling Sanlúcar and I had an old fashioned, although in my case they used the Michter’s US 1 whiskey in place of Wild Turkey. I didn’t even ask them to forgo the fruit salad, but when the drink came out, I had whiskey and bitters–with a cherry floating in the glass and a slice of orange on the rim.

That’s a great damn way to do an old fashioned. (Myself, I dash in some Reagan’s Orange along with the Angostura, but I’m weird.) Jen was very pleased with the Sparkling Sanlúcar, as well.

I think it’s fair to say that Chestnut rocks the cocktail menu. Oh, the food? Well, I’m a drinks blogger, but we were delighted by the food, too. We’re both looking forward to returning.

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