If you get sat at the bar in the Parlor, as we were, no one will be standing behind you. It's only table and bar seating, loud enough to feel buzzy, but the buzzing won't takeover your head. Plus you get to order direct from the bartender, the only one, actually, who manages to work steadily but never in a frenzy. It's a place of calm. It's like they took service tips from the French Laundry, almost, how well-timed everything is, how knowledgeable everyone is, how pleasant.
And then there's that book above (see the entire book as PDF online). Twenty-two cocktails await (a brief panic as to how to choose and choose the best!), arranged in pairs of Tradition and Tomorrow, although Tradition is mucked with in yummy ways most of the time. The categories: Effervescent, Martini, Gimlet, Egg White, Daisy, Whiskey Sour, Savory, Tiki, Manhattan, Old Fashioned, Bitter. We scan through, and realize it might be smart for our hopefully hangover-free tomorrows to pick a core liquor and pick two of each we hope to consume over the evening. It didn't seem prudent to go from gin to scotch, say. That made whiskey an easy choice, given it grounded several of the categories.
Plus we both wanted a Buttoned Up (Chryss luckily got it), the traditional Old Fashioned.
Each cocktail gets its own page--how seen and honored each one must feel in this temple to potent potables. TDR helpfully offers three distinguishing characteristics for each drink, a charming drawing from the Great British Bake-Off school of culinary sketches (except the finished product actually does look like its drawing at TDR), and the ingredients. Who doesn't want an opulent char, especially one that layers Angel's Envy Bourbon and Craigellachie Armagnac Cask Scotch? You know how it is--those who are buttoned-up often conceal the most power. Plus, what a perfect, clear hunk of ice. (I really need to raise my home ice game--TDR sort of shames me.)
I couldn't resist the Whiskey Sour of tomorrow, especially because I had to Google several of its ingredients (why drink what I already know?). The Amazake Kick lived up to its dried fruit, ready, robust descriptors. Amazake, which auto-correct doesn't know either, so I don't feel so bad having to look it up, is a traditional Japanese drink made from fermented rice; TDR gives even that a twist, via Ireland, of course, making theirs from soda bread. That helps led to the breadiness, of course, and the welcome homeyness is always darling in a drink. Once again there are two whiskeys--they love layering on the core pours--and then there's the odd Danish product Plum I Suppose, from Empirical, a bright botanical liqueur that brings marigold and plum. A drink like this one makes me want to be Sour a lot tomorrow.
We also ordered both versions of the Manhattan, what with our whiskey predilection for the evening and, well, that was where we were, after all. The "traditional" Jupiter Switch did what we like to do at home--use Amaro--but even gave that an unusual nudge by making it green walnut Amaro. Not that a hint of nocino is unwelcome or even that unusual in a Manhattan, but that earthy/nuttiness is a hearty touch, especially with the eucalyptus and cacao extending all the flavor's edges.