A recent night out with my baby sister, Dana, led me to my first experience with Bocado. It was a chance encounter with the restaurant. We needed a quick drink (okay, maybe two), and we were in a bit of a rush. There was no time to waste small-talking the cocktail menu, so Dana and I jumped right into the middle of it. Love.
The next night Nicky and I found ourselves with a two-hour window between other “appointments.” Knowing he would love Bocado as much as I did, we dashed over and I introduced him to the bar menu. A couple of cocktails later and . . .more love.
When we discovered that the talented Eric Simpkins would be joining Bocado mixologist David Durnell behind the bar the next night, we decided to go for three nights in a row. So glad we did. Three consecutive nights, three visits, and eight cocktails later I knew it was true love. Cocktail love.
The guy behind the bar
On our second visit, we were able to spend some quality time getting to know bar master David Durnell. He is young, talented, self-taught, and extremely passionate about handcrafted cocktails. He got his start at Cafe Intermezzo where he began learning the art of mixing. David began devouring book after book on vintage cocktails and mixology. As he continued sharpening his skills and pursuing his passion, he landed his current position at Bocado where he was charged with taking the cocktail menu to a new level.
David presents a rotating menu that is fresh in approach, seasonal in taste, and quite comprehensive. Definitely a collection offering something for everyone. A few things stand out with his menu: fresh ingredients, creativity, and true balance. Over three visits, we sampled eight of the eleven cocktails on the menu. With each, the primary spirit was present in the favor profile, but never dominated. The balance was impeccable. Each possessed just the right combination of every ingredient to blend perfectly and compliment, not over power.
This doesn’t mean that these are simplistic recipes. The cocktails all have layers of flavors, interesting combinations, and lingering nuances – for instance the campfire essence of The Imperious; the spice of the Averna Amaro in the Black Manhattan; the tinge of orange and apricot with the Dawn and Dusk. Nice notes to each drink.
Here is an overview of just a few of our favorites from the menu:
The Pisco Frisco – Pisco, Benedictine, grapefruit, whites, peach bitters, and topped with grated nutmeg
The Oceanside – Hendricks Gin, Aperol, Lillet Blanc, grapefruit juice, and grapefruit bitters
The Imperious – Famous Grouse, honey syrup, lemon, ginger, ruby port, and a Laphroaig float
The Dawn And Dusk – Old Overhold Rye, apricot liqueur, orange peel, lemon, whites, and barrel-aged bitters
The Violet Hour – Appleton White Rum, demerara, lime, Crème Yvette
A note about Bocado
We are not food bloggers, but I can’t let the chance go by to mention the food at Bocado. Yes, we have all heard the testimonies that Bocado has the best burger in town. Not a big burger person, it just never really crossed my mind to drop by Bocado for drinks. Should have done my homework earlier. Cocktails aside, the food menu is equally as satisfying. Chef Todd Ginsberg (what an amazing resume this guy has!) presents a contemporary and holistic approach to fresh American foods. Ingredients are locally grown and the menu makes a strong commitment to the farm-to-table approach. A sustainable garden in their own backyard features a variety of fresh herbs. The concept is small, simple plates that feature the natural flavors of the ingredients.
All of this is offered up in a relaxed, beautifully comfortably and airy space on the westside of town. The restaurant design is simple, natural and welcoming. And for those like me who love patio dining, the Bocado patio is perfect! Owner Brian Lewis is doing the westside proud with Bocado.
I may have to actually try a burger one of these days. But for now, veggies and a cocktail at the bar are keeping this love affair alive.