The cocktail menu at Ironside Fish & Oyster, the latest Consortium Holdings (Craft & Commerce, Polite Provisions, Under Belly, Neighborhood) project, is rather epic. It's four times the size of the dinner menu.
Leigh Lecap, who's been behind the bar at Craft & Commerce and Noble Experiment and won El Dorado's 2013 bartender challenge, is Ironside's bar manager. He uses "approachable" to describe the menu. There are some unfamiliar ingredients, sure, but they were selected to pair well with Ironside's seafood-focused menu. Use the sections as your guide, he says. "We categorized the menu with descriptions that let our guests know when certain drinks are best enjoyed in their dining experience," he says.
Indeed, the menu's divided into seven sections, beginning with "Cocktails on the Half Shell" ("A single raw oyster served alongside a lively drink of restorative qualities") and ending with four coffee cocktails. In between, you've got champagne cocktails to pair with oysters, plus apertifs and digestifs. Ultimately, Lecap assures, don't be afraid to ask.
"A great bartender or server knows exactly what easy-to-identify flavor profiles all of their products have and how to relate them to anyone's personal tastes."
A few months ago, Coin-Op's Ryan Andrews turned me on to Henebery, a locally made whiskey that he used to make a tasty whiskey smash with fresh blood oranges, mint and lemon. On Thursday, May 22, Henebery's the featured spirit at a pairing dinner at Saltbox to raise money for Rachel's Women's Center, a homeless shelter. The meal will include six courses of small bites paired with whiskey cocktails, like seared sea bass and lemongrass forbidden rice served with a "Mai Thai"—Henebery, toasted coconut, lemongrass orgeat, curry bitters and lime. Tickets are $35 and can be purchased by calling 619-515-3029.
Speaking of Coin-Op, the North Park bar is rolling out two new menus—a beer-cocktail menu and spring cocktail menu—on Monday, April 21, with $5 drink specials from 7 p.m. to close. Highlights include the Trouble in Pearadise (gin, lime, rosemary, pear, saison beer) and the Mick Jäger, Andrews' Jägermeister-based tiki cocktail with pineapple, lime, Giffard vanilla liqueur, cinnamon and Angostura and Rx sarsaparilla bitters. It's a "curveball" he's tossing to the mixologist community, he says—"Can't wait to see their faces after they try that one!"—but promises it's a great drink.