Tag Archives: speakeasy-style

So much and so little

Ms. S&C has so much to share, but so little time to share it. Stay tuned for the S&C Guide to Key West (which will be heavily focused on the “C” side of S&C), sloe gin fizzes, agave margaritas, and sandals. We definitely need to discuss summer sandals. I want about 100 different pairs.

In the meantime, here are a couple of updates about my beloved topics:yellowbox-sandals

Shoes – For my Key West vacay, I picked up a pair of studded, brown thongs from Zappos. I think they’re cool, in biker-chic kinda way. And, after wearing them all over the southernmost part of the U.S., I’m still a big fan.

Cocktails – I tweeted about Ms. S&C and Miss Mojito’s visit to PX, but wanted to share a few more details. It’s no secret that I have an affection for speakeasy-style bars. Yes, due in part to the glamour and secrecy around them, but the main reason is the cocktails. These establishments serve the most innovative drinks around, and PX is no exception. Before getting to the cocktails, here are a few housekeeping-type notes:

  1. Make a reservation – you’ll likely not get in otherwise. And, a party of three is an ideal number in my opinion (Miss M’s big sis, LC, joined us). PX thankfully doesn’t overwhelm you with cocktail selections, but you’ll want to try e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g. Take two others and you’ll make significant dent in the menu.
  2. Sit at the bar if possible – you really should watch the bartenders at work.
  3. Be patient – the cocktails are referred to as “liquid art,” and they do take time.
  4. Ask questions – there will be ingredients that you’ve never heard of, and it is okay to ask.


Here’s a sampling of the cocktails we tried:

Smoker’s Delight
Tobacco honey syrup, honeycomb, and Basil Hayden’s bourbon served in a martini glass.
S&C’s take: Very little smokey or tobacco-y flavor, which may have been the right thing to do, but I would have liked a little more. It also makes me want more bourbon in my life.

Big Ken’s Palomita
Don Julio Blanco tequila, Cointreau, sage tincture, grapefruit juice, and grapefruit soda served over ice with a salted rim.
S&C’s take: Good and very salty dog-ish.

Boris Karloff
House-made elderflower liqueur, Plymouth gin, kaffir lime, and eggwhite served in a martini glass.
S&C’s take: A lovely and elegant cocktail. Second favorite of the night.

Most Aggressive Fish in the Ocean
Cucumber, yuzu, mint, Cruzan rum, Hendrick’s gin, and eggwhite served in a martini glass.
S&C’s take: Interesting and good, but don’t have this and the Boris Karloff back-to-back (too much eggwhite-frothiness pour moi).

Champagne Cocktail
Cherry bitters, cherries, sugar, and Gruet.
S&C’s take: Sounds simple, but there was fire involved in the preparation. And, it was the favorite drink of the night.

posted by Ms. S&C

Tour de force–part II

The New York City bar hop continues…

Temple Bar was our next stop.  This place was less intimate and a bit swankier than PDT, and probably geared to someone with deeper pockets than moi.  But, I definitely appreciated the friendly service and being able to get a table, as we had three others join us.  A good variety of cocktails on the menu.  Here’s what I sampled:

44 North
I positively adore anything with pomegranate juice.  I love the tartness.  Unfortunately this drink tasted a bit chalky?
Served over ice in a highball glass

The Arbitrator
I, now, officially prefer gin as my spirit of choice.
Strained in served in a martini glass

  • Plymouth Gin
  • Sage
  • Peach Puree

Next, we swung by 124 Old Rabbit Club in Greenwich Village.  This was my second favorite place of the night.  It is very unassuming, dark (think basement), hip and cool, and to me, it has New York City written all over it.  It is easy to miss, so look for the black door at the bottom of a few steps.  I think there were mailbox-style letters at the top, but who knows what I saw at this point of the night.  They only serve beer and wine, so I had an Orval.  Correction: they only serve good beer and wine.

Photo by Carmen E. Lopez and AJ Wilheim, New York Magazine

Photo of Old Rabbit Club by Carmen E. Lopez and AJ Wilheim, New York Magazine

I probably should have called it a night after the Old Rabbit Club.  But, we hopped in a cab and soldiered on to The Back Room.  I vaguely recall the bouncer out front and the longer-than-you-think-walk to the entrance.  I do remember the place being gorgeous, with an old-school glamorous décor.  Drinks are served in teacups, as a throw-back to the speakeasy-style environment.  Word on the street is to try the place during the week, because it was c-r-o-w-d-e-d on Saturday night.  I ordered a lame vodka tonic, which I hardly touched.  It was time to head home.

Tour de force–part I

It’s been a long time since I went to four bars in one night.  But, when I was in New York City, over the Columbus Day weekend, I felt compelled to try some of New York Magazine’s top-rated bars.  I also asked my good friend, Sesolf, for recommendations, and we embarked on the classic bar hop.

(Here’s part one of a two-part post on the night.)

First up, was PDT, or Please Don’t Tell, a speakeasy-style lounge in the East Village.  PDT has everything you’d expect – intimate ambience, superb cocktails, and the obligatory secret entrance (you enter through a vintage phone booth located within Crif Dog, a hot dog joint).  It was my favorite place of the night.  Not only is the place quite civilized (see etiquette rules),  the cocktails were inventive and down-right good.

Pearl Button
Referred to on the menu as a “Caipirinha Collins,” and it was.  Light and refreshing, it was the perfect cocktail to start the night.
Served over ice in a collins glass

Witch’s Kiss
This drink has a thicker consistency and interesting herbal flavors.
Strained and served in a martini glass

  • Jose Cuervo Tequila
  • Lemon Juice
  • Strega (bittersweet herbal liqueur)
  • Red Jacket Orchard Apple Jack Butter

The glass is filled with perfect crushed ice and garnished with mint.  One trick we learned – flick the mint leaves to release the sweet aroma right before serving.

  • Tanqueray Gin
  • Krogstad Aquavit
  • Pineapple Juice
  • Lemon Juice
  • Muddled Blackberries

(Next up: a basement bar akin to a rabbit hole, a faux speakeasy.)

Roaring cocktails

Ms. S&C was thrilled to accept an invitation from a friend to try out a new speakeasy-style cocktail establishment in DC. Ala PX in Old Town, this classy lounge also serves up extraordinary cocktails using the finest ingredients and super-innovative techniques (Jim Beam infused with curry, or flambéed egg whites, anyone?).

They are pretty serious about keeping the place hush-hush, so I won’t mention the name here (I want to be welcomed back). You can only get in if you have a reservation (thanks again Ana!), the location is rumored to change, and the place is only open two nights a week. The atmosphere is a throwback to the 1920s-prohibition era, with bartenders is vests and a black and white movie playing (Wife vs. Secretary last night). And, the drinks. Oh, the drinks!

The drink menu has three categories: Original, Borrowed, and Classics. Between the two of us, we made sure to try all of the originals, which included their own version of a Pimms Cup (Pimms 1.5), and a strangely smoky concoction using Del Maguey Minero mezcal (Los Rudos). Other originals included shout-outs to nearby cities – Baltimore Bengali and Philly Sling.

Another highlight was the bartender/mixologist Justin. He was a real cool guy with no pretension and eager to talk (and explain) each cocktail, which are quite labor intensive. Naturally, we became increasingly chatty after each cocktail, so we asked him how he would react if someone came and asked for a vodka tonic? His answer, “I don’t think we have any vodka here.” But, they do make their own tonic.

So, friends – no pictures of the bar, no pictures of the drinks – in hopes to preserve the mystique for awhile longer (and not get thrown out of the place). I leave you with this parting shot – our shoes! Taken at a pizza joint up the street, where we split a slice after indulging in some of the best cocktails in DC.