What makes a fantastic evening? For my money, it’s a cozy booth in little hideaway with close friends, good food, and great cocktails. I had such an experience recently at a place called Top Flr. While an esoteric techno-lounge track played in the background, Katruska, The Piper, and I enjoyed some of the most unique cocktails I’ve yet to experience in Atlanta.
Round 1 started with a “Lilac Wine” for Katruska, a “Pi”* for me, and of course The Piper chose a stout. The “Pi” (walnut bourbon, Stones Ginger Wine, mixed berries, lemon, agave, and bitters) was smooth with an initial essence of blackberries on the front end and a definite kick from the walnut bourbon on the finish. Throughout the savoring of it, there was a slight acidity from the lemon to balance the drink. I found this drink a great way to start the evening and begin looking forward to fall. Katruska’s drink, the “Lilac Wine” (Meyer lemon-influenced Square One vodka, Stone’s Green Ginger Wine, hibiscus, velvet falernum), was found to be lacking and we decided that it was like a boozy lemonade without much variation on the palate. Throughout round 1, The Piper looked quietly on as we discussed both drinks in depth.
Round 2 was a bit more adventurous with Katruska getting a “Little White Bird”, me having a “Roy Orbison”, and The Piper ordering another stout (sensing a pattern yet?). Katruska’s “Little White Bird” (apple-thyme Pisco, elderflower, lemon, egg white, Peychaud’s bitter) was excellent with decidedly herbaceous, apple, and citrus tones playing well with each other. We both agreed that the drink provided a complex taste experience that constantly changed as it was sipped. My “Roy Orbison” (Carpano Antica, orange juice, Laphroaig scotch) was a definite change from Katruska’s choice. Upon first sip, the Laphroaig causes the drink to be much like a campfire in a glass. The smoky sensation is not only experienced with taste, but also with your sense of smell. This component alone would lead me to say that this drink is not for everyone, but I love scotch so I thought it was great. Katruska and I both found the finish on this drink to be on the bitter side with hints of orange peel which made both of us very happy. This was the only cocktail The Piper would try and he commented, “you’ve ruined a perfectly good Laphroaig” and went back to his stout.
Katruska decided that we should have just one more round and by “we” she meant me. On this one, I had a “Midnight Rider” (house-made spiced rum, Gosling’s dark rum, fresh lime juice, ginger syrup) which reminded me of a holiday version of a “Dark and Stormy”. I enjoyed it and would have another someday, but Katruska declared it to smell of silly putty and holiday candles. I guess it’s one of those rare times that we had to agree to disagree. While we debated the drinks pluses and minuses, The Piper had already blocked us out and was Facebooking on his phone. I can’t prove it, but I believed he was telling the world about his great evening with Katruska and I…at least that’s what the cocktails told me to believe.
* In reviewing the current cocktail menu posted on Top Flr’s site this drink is not included. But ask anyway, who knows?