Last year, we took a tour of all that Jalisco has to offer by drinking our way through the tequila wall at Verde Mexican Kitchen & Cantina. That restaurant’s owner, Jeff, actually owns a second establishment not far away called Tender Bar + Kitchen. And again, this bar has inspired a new achievement.
Built on the site of a former bank, Tender is a cool, retro-style craft cocktail bar where the drinks truly take center stage. They have a bunch of awesome signature drinks created by the experts behind the bar, but what interests us for this particular achievement is Tender’s Banker’s List.
Currently 28 cocktails strong, the Banker’s List is a catalog of “vintage and modern classics everyone should try.” Essentially it’s a list that contains, if you’re serious about your cocktails, some essential drinks you really ought to know about. So, in 2014 Fox and I have decided to conquer this list. Each month, we’ll write about a couple cocktails from the list in our new feature, Cocktail Corner.
(And yes, we’ve got our jelly club, bacon club, and soon cheese club — but we refuse to call this Banker’s Club.)
For our first entry, we’re checking out a pair of terrific gin drinks: the Aviation and the Alaska.
This early-20th century gem is made in its original style: with gin, lemon, Luxardo maraschino, and crème de violette.
This cocktail is strong and easy-sipping. I loved how its maraschino sweetness is undercut by just a hint of the bitter, and how the light floral aspect brought by the crème de violette opens up your sinuses as you drink it. About the floral quality: Fox noted that while it’s there, it’s pretty subtle, which is nice for gals such as she who generally dislike floral tastes and smells. Her main takeaway was the drink’s pleasant tartness.
This is a cocktail for someone who likes martinis, but doesn’t think they’re boozy enough. Imagine a gin martini where some delightful prankster replaced the vermouth with yellow chartreuse and tossed in a dash of orange bitters, and there you have it: the Alaska.
The booze here is pretty well masked, but this bad boy packs a serious punch. I enjoyed the hell out of it, particularly its bitter finish. Fox, on the other hand, found the bitterness to be a bit overbearing, so she gave the edge to the Aviation.
So, this is a pretty short post — but we’ll be back every month this year with notes on a few more cocktails. Just to let you know, the Banker’s List is discounted by $2 from 5-7pm, Monday-Saturday. Maybe we’ll see you there!!