Last night Katruska, The Piper, and I had dinner and drinks at the new joint venture between Todd Mussman and Ryan Turner (owners of Muss & Turners) and Chris Hall (Canoe and 4th & Swift), Local Three. The group opened last week in the old Joel space, but the look and atmosphere of the place are nothing like the previous restaurant. Local Three is a intimate space with low lighting, kitschy folk art, cozy seating, and long wooden bar stocked literally to the ceiling with a wide variety of beer, wine, and our favorite, liquor. They have over 35 bourbons alone.
Unfortunately when I perused their bar menu, it quickly became apparent that the cocktail menu was missing. I mentioned this to the bartender and he told me that they were still putting the final touches on the menu and it would be available by this weekend. While disappointed, I did have a wide choice of bourbons, so I started with a Manhattan (Woodford Reserve bourbon and Dolin sweet vermouth) until Katruska and I could formulate an alternate plan. Their version of the classic was a bit on the dry side (very little vermouth), but was delicious none the less.
While discussing our options, Katruska and I asked the bartender if he would be able to give a preview of the upcoming menu. He very generously agreed to make us their version of an Old-Fashioned (bourbon, orange juice, sugar, grenadine*, maraschino cherry, orange peel, and Angostura bitters). In a old-fashioned glass (and thus the name) he allowed the sugar and the bitters an chance to melt together before adding the orange juice, orange peel, and cherry and muddling it all together. To this he added bourbon (Bulleit in one and I believe Evan Williams in the other) and ice before shaking well in a cocktail shaker. Both of the resulting drinks were very well balanced between bitter and sweet and would be great introduction to bourbon based beverages for the uninitiated.
So, while we didn’t get to try several options from the upcoming cocktail menu, we enjoyed a very nice preview. Not to mention that the food at Local Three is outstanding (rosemary-parmesan popcorn, roasted pork belly, butternut squash soup, duck confit cassoulet, and on and on). I guess this means another trip back to Local Three. Ah well, we’ll just have to suffer for our art.
* The final version will have maraschino liqueur, but it was unavailable at the time