Let’s Go to the Museum

BACKGROUND:  New Year’s Eve 2009.  CR and I find ourselves looking for trouble in South Lake Union (SLU).  Well, actually, we’re looking for a cocktail.  I should also mention that it is approximately 1:00p in the afternoon.  By this time in my cocktail evolution, I knew of many local superstar bartenders and cocktail bloggers.  I had read that Andrew Bohrer recently moved from the Naga lounge on the Eastside (aka Montana) to create the cocktail program at the new SLU restaurant Mistral Kitchen.  You do the math, CR and I are on our way to drink Andrew Bohrer creations at Mistral Kitchen.  The joint is almost empty except for a couple at the bar.  Two spots left and we take them.  There seems to be some kind of experiment going on and our bar-mates are taking pictures of the drinks Andrew is making.

Andrew takes our order.  I ask for something Manhattan-y.  He pours some booze into a beautiful mixing glass.  Next, he proceeds to carve an ice ball the size of an orange.  And then he takes out the coolest peeler I’ve seen (everyone needs one of these) and peels an orange in one strip, which he wraps around the ice ball.  Seriously, it was the coolest thing I’ve seen.  I loved that drink.  This was a memorable day.  CR and I drinking incredible cocktails in an empty Mistral Kitchen (turns out they closed from 1p-5p, but didn’t ask us to leave) talking cocktails with Andrew Bohrer.  Best. New Years. Ever.  And it turns out that our bar-mate was A.J. Rathbun, author of Dark Spirits.  OK, I’m geeking out on this, and 99.73 % of you will be saying “so?” but I still talk about that day.

We talked cocktail books with Andrew that day.  He told us that one of the most useful books you could have was The Museum of the American Cocktail Pocket Recipe Guide.   So, this is the plan.  All in the name of science…  I’m new here, I don’t really know what I’m doing, but I want to improve my skill set.  This little cocktail book contains recipes to 100 classic cocktails that all good bartenders/mixologists/cocktail enthusiasts should know.  You know where I’m going with this right?  Oh sure, I know…not very original, not very unique.  I know it’s been done.  There’s the famous Julie and Julia Project (I promise I won’t be mean to CR).  And there’s the more subject appropriate Jerry Thomas Project (so much cooler than mine).  But, I don’t care.  I need to know this stuff.  So, here we go with the “Mixing the Museum” project.  100 cocktails in 100 TBD days.  (whoa, too ambitious.  Let’s go with TBD days).  Stay tuned for the Algonquin.

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