Raising the Cocktail Game
Over the past few years, I’ve sipped my share of cocktails in Charm City. I’ve learned about spirits, bitters and shrubs, infusions, ice (yes, the ice game is key) and more. For example, when the bartender describes a cocktail as “spirit forward,” that usually means boozay. Many of the most creative drinks I’ve had were dreamed up by the folks of the Baltimore Bartenders Guild, a local group of beverage professionals with the goal of raising the bar on the way Baltimoreans imbibe. They meet once a month and do many events throughout the year, like the Cystic Fibrosis Ryes Up cocktail competition at B&O Brasserie.
So, I’ve been paying attention, and stepping up my cocktail game at home – gathering helpful tools, new glassware and even making some of my own ingredients. And, while I have absolutely no issue with a gin + tonic or maybe a Bulleit + Gosling’s (#love), lately I keep going back to the same cocktail: gin, simple syrup, lemon juice, egg white and plum bitters – also good with a little garnish of mint or basil. It’s balanced, a little tart and has great texture with the egg white. One is plenty…I’m usually on deadline, so it’s best to keep my wits about me. (See photo above.)
If you want to try some stellar cocktails, I highly recommend Bookmakers Cocktail Club. Ryan Sparks, formerly of Jack’s Bistro and Of Love & Regret, has just rolled out his second cocktail menu…and the place has only been open a little over a month. I also recommend taking Uber so that you can try a few drinks on the menu. The names of the cocktails are pretty creative, but the ingredients and combinations – wow. Check out the menu below and get yourself to Federal Hill. Yes, I said Federal Hill. Real, serious biz cocktails in “Fed Hill.” And the food…also amazing.