Spaghetti with bottarga, the must-order at La Ciccia.
Yeah, yeah, in the world of YouTube, something two days old is old news by now. But a couple of people just simultaneously emailed me the link to this hysterical rap video about the mixology scene (courtesy of the same guys that did an excellent take on the drama you'll find at the Whole Foods parking lot). My favorite part is that massive cube of ice that won’t fit in the glass.
Should you think such chiding has put a stop to the mixology trend, it hasn’t. Case in point: Yesterday, I stopped by Tradition, the newest bar from Destination Bars—the guys behind Local Edition. It’s a hop and a skip from Bourbon & Branch and definitely of the same genre—only at this bar, you can reserve a drinking-themed booth (or a "snug," as they call it). Like many of the fanciest bars in town, it’s in the Tenderloin, which means that as you put the money in your meter, you try to exude a tough, unmuggable exterior. Then you go inside the bar and drop a lot of money on a fancy cocktail listed under the “dive bar” category on the menu, painfully aware that there’s some irony here. And it’s not about the bartender in the suspenders.
Once you get beyond this, though, the cocktails at Tradition are great. I was on a summer cocktail bender. The tome of a cocktail menu is divided into all different traditions of bars, from New Orleans to Tiki to the said dive bar category from which I had to try the peachy, undeniably titillating Slow Comfortable Screw Against the Wall—a drink that’s a spin on the classic Slow Comfortable Screw mixed with a Harvey Wallbanger. I also took a sip of the Singapore Sling and something called a Jemmy & Red, traditionally an Irish drink made with a soda called red lemonade. Tradition, of course, takes it a step higher, and mixes it with hibiscus, Jameson, lemon, and simple syrup. It was a keeper.
Clearly there’s some movement to respond to some of the parodies of the overly precious bar scene (Portlandia did another good one). Tradition's acting general manager Ian Scalzo told me, “We’re taking away the pretentiousness and the how-dare-you-order-a-G&T [vibe] here." But of course, that doesn’t mean that the gin and tonic isn't mixed with barrel-aged gin which, of course, is made in-house.