The recently opened Small Batch Whiskey & Fare (3001 Locust Street; 314-494-2174) will undoubtedly be a vital piece to midtown's reawakening, offering a full vegetarian menu and, most importantly, a nice selection of whiskey. Yet another wonderful addition to the Baileys' family, this new member brings not only a focus on cocktails, but also a unique space. Gut Check stopped by to test out the menu and, as usual, hang out at the bar, where a "Smokysweet" quickly appeared.
The art-deco vibe inside Small Batch immediately takes you back to the glory days of pre-Prohibition, while tall ceilings, giant mirrors and low lighting all make for a cozy spot to enjoy a drink. The super-swank white marble bar is the perfect vantage point to watch Nick Digiovanni put together the "Smokysweet." As its name suggests, this drink is a blend of smoke and saccharinity, embodied by the housemade smoked cherry that sits at both the bottom of the glass, muddled, and atop, pierced by a stake. "It's a an interesting balance and flavor profile," says Digiovanni, and he couldn't be more accurate. The rhubarb soda is dry and tart, "adding a nice bite," and "pairs exceptionally well with the cherry." The bourbon and smoked cherry also mixes well, and just those two ingredients alone would make for a fine drink. All together, with the addition of rhubarb liqueur and Punta Mez, the complexities shine.
The aroma is powerful -- lots of smoke and bourbon is never a bad start. The first sip is dry and cutting, but it makes sense after you get that second wave of muddled cherry. It's a crisp drink that lets the bourbon stand up, but it still brings plenty of flavor that matches the whiskey. The drink really would go well in either summer or winter, depending on whether you focus on the light, airy rhubarb or the rich smoked cherry. Either way, you're bound to be pleased with the results.
After the jump, how to make the "Smokysweet" at home.
- 1 oz. bourbon -.5 oz. rhubarb liqueur -.5 oz. Punta Mez - 3 oz. rhubarb soda
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