Instead of cooking at home Thursday night, Mrs. Bitters and I went out for dinner. We chose Brooklyn’s Marlow & Sons, a gourmet market with a gastropub-type place in back. Marlow usually has an inventive cocktail menu, and last night was no exception. Among the drinks on the menu was Ramp Vodka–a blend of ramp-infused vodka and walnut oil. I have to say we didn’t try it, but it was certainly intriguing.
I ordered an Old Fashioned that I didn’t much care for–actually pink from the muddled cherries, topped off with way too much seltzer, and served in a tall glass instead of an Old Fashioned glass. I don’t understand why a simple drink like the Old Fashioned is such a minefield.
The next round was better. Jen ordered a drink called Italian is English (only the most devoted restaurant geeks will get this reference, I’m sure)–Junipero gin, Punt e Mes, lime, and seltzer. I got the Gigolo–Mount Gay rum, coconut water, and lime. Both were well-balanced and properly mixed.
After we left Marlow, we started walking to the bus plaza, a few blocks away, commenting that we wished we could get a bottle of wine to drink at home. We have some bad package stores in our neighborhood, so simply grabbing a bottle of good wine on the way home is much harder than it sounds.
As we passed another favorite restaurant, Dressler, bartender Jim saw us through the open window and waved. We waved back, walked a bit farther, and decided to go back. Jim’s a great bartender, and as any cocktail geek knows, a great barkeep is fun to watch. He greeted us, told us about his trip upstate to Gary Regan’s Cocktails in the Country, and picked back up on conversation about bitters that we had started two or three months ago, the last time Jen and I were there.
Another gentleman came in and approached the bar. Jim interrupted our conversation to turn to the man and say, “Stella, as usual?” The man nodded and Jim drew him a pint, while easing back into our conversation. A man and woman approached the bar. Jim said to the man, “I’ve got a new port I’d like you to try. I don’t think you’ve had this one.” They discussed the port and compared it to Dressler’s other offerings. That man’s got a good memory.
As for our drinks at Dressler… the bartenders there have continued a great and longstanding tradition–naming drinks for movie stars. Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, Jean Harlow, Ginger Rogers, and now Gena Rowlands. Jen loved this drink, a mix of gin, orange-blossom water, honey, and lemon.
I tried something new that Jim and his colleagues have been playing with. Unnamed as yet, it’s a Negroni variation made from gin, Aperol, and Fernet Branca, with a mint leaf rubbed around the rim of the glass. Very tasty.
Tasty food, refreshing drinks, and great conversation–it was a wonderful evening.