A couple of weeks ago, my friend Laura and I headed out to the Bradstreet Crafthouse for fancy cocktails. The Bradstreet Crafthouse specializes in classic cocktails made with liquors that would have been available at the time of prohibition. So, naturally, I expected a lot of moonshine and spit-roasted raccoon and, let me tell you, I was very disappointed. I would have eaten raccoon for you all because my love for you knows no bounds*. Because of the fancy digs and lack of raccoon on the menu, I planned to have the best Gin and Tonic on my life. It turns out that they do not serve Gin and Tonics. Or Caipirinhas. Or Chocolate Martinis (Laura’s cocktail of choice). They did, however, serve a lot of drinks with raw egg whites in them which can only mean that Rocky Balboa is part-owner. With the lack of familiar drinks and all the poultry laden beverages, Laura and I were a bit lost. Clearly, we were not their target market, probably because we have ovaries and no longer smoke cigars**. We turned to our waiter for assistance who wasn’t helpful at all. If you’re going to be a hoity toity cocktail place then your servers should be knowledgeable about the drinks on the menu and be able to answer basic questions. Ours couldn’t. He said he’d get back to us but then forgot. Like when he forgot to bring our bread. And our raccoon. We were basically on our own. The menu is divided by the primary liquor in the drink. So, I went for the gin-based drinks and chose a Negroni Tredici. Laura chose a Pimm’s Cup. I really wish that I had taken notes on all of this because I don’t remember the specifics but I did take pictures:
Take a closer look at the ice sphere in my drink. That sphere is a big deal - I know this because our waiter gave us a 10 minute explanation of the process by which they make the ice. I wish he'd known as much about the drinks as he did about the ice. I will say that the ice was gorgeous - the beauty and function were not lost on me. I found a video that shows how they make the ice and you can check it out here. My drink smelled amazing – strong citrus and spice - but was very dry so I didn't care much for it. This is purely about my preference. I have no doubt that the drink was well-made. Afterwards, I learned that the Negroni Tredici is specifically described in Tennessee Williams' 1951 novel "The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone". I wish I'd known that at the time. Laura liked her drink but I'm drawing a blank about the specifics - maybe she'll fill in the blanks in the comments section.
We decided to have another drink and wanted to try something completely different. So, I went for a Three Bags Full and Laura put her fate in the hands of the “mixologist” at the urging of the waiter. Her only request was that the drink be creamy and free from egg whites. My drink came out first and I am such a sucker for presentation.
How adorable is that teeny tiny carafe of extra alcohol? Pretty damn adorable. My only recollection about the drink itself was that it was sharp. The drinks were strong and I was too self-conscious to take notes.
Here is Laura's second drink:
We both tasted it and neither of us liked it. The texture was strange. So, after some deliberation and discussion about lemon scones, she admitted to the waiter that she didn't like it. That's when he confessed that it had egg white in it and proceeded to kindly patronize her. The Egg White Scandal is wrong on so many levels but, if I think too much about it, I get really mad so I'll say nothing more about it. He took the drink back and Laura had a second Pimm's Cup.
Our trip to the Bradstreet Crafthouse was an interesting experience and I’m sure that the bartenders know what they are doing. Unfortunately, I think this is one of those instances when an experience is ruined by a poor server. There are many wonderful reviews of the Bradstreet Crafthouse out there. The City Pages review is interesting and comprehensive. I'm just a lay person and, admittedly, I know very little about cocktails. We went there for an experience and, when a place charges 10 bucks a pop for a drink, it better deliver. Because of the service, it didn't.