photo by Eliesa Johnson
There have been a lot of changes at La Belle Vie of late, lots of shuffling which can make a girl feel unsettled. One of my favorite habits of the colder months includes camping in front of the fireplace in the lounge and noshing a night away with my Ladies League.
Adam Gorski is the new chief behind the bar, taking over for long-time legend Johnny Michaels. He's just launched the first list of drinks that will kick-off his version of the LBV lounge. Those whipped into a panic over missing old favorites, stand down: there's a nice cushy list of house classics (yes Handsome Devil, yes Parlez-Vous) in the Hello Old Friend section. But those looking for something new, something dashing and dazzling, please report to me. Here are a few I sampled the other night:
Brown Derby ... A bourbon sour made with fresh grapefruit juice and honey. A lovely and elegant bourbon tippler that had a refreshing sense of mango about it.
Fall Sazerac ... Served in stemware (which felt like a nod to Michaels), this was a lighter-handed saz with rich aromatic calvados and St. George's Absinthe. It felt plaid, with just a bit of apple cinnamon and spice.
Wichita Lineman ... A tall sipper, this one made with wine-based cardamaro and cherry heering was like a Danish gentleman's Dr. Pepper, say a kicked up cola laced with almonds and a back-bite. I kept coming back and back again.
Cocoa Bumbo ... A low slung seducer, this one called itself a rum Old Fashioned but instead of cherry and orange, it was hit with bitter sweet cocoa nib. There was more smokiness than chocolate, and sort of a dark fancy to the clear drink.
More on the list to look forward to: there's a tequila negroni called Coulter Club, an El Jefe rum Manhattan with house huckleberry grenadine, a Far North Cobbler made with local Far North gin and berries, and a sweet and savory flip called Whirling Dervish which is next on my list. The team behind the bar seems as strong and confident as ever, Zac Siejko and Jon Olson (who knows a thing or two about malort) were the gents behind the bar that night.
All in all, I think I can report: change is not to be feared, and our cold weather survival habits are secure.