Falling in Love Again ($10)
Made with Riesling, lemon, and Imbue Bittersweet Vermouth, Falling in Love Again (named after a Marlene Dietrich song) is a feather-light entrée into Lacey's multifaceted cocktail program. It has fruity sweetness from the white wine, a nice hit of bright citrus, and a measure of the botanically driven Imbue, a product out of Oregon made from local pinot gris.
All This Useless Beauty ($10)
Lacey raises the octane a notch with this gin cocktail, also increasing the depth and richness of the fruit flavors at play. He was fortunate enough to score a supply of apple cider from the famed Seedling Farms for this drink, named after an Elvis Costello tune. The gin he's using is from the English distiller Martin Miller. "North Shore No. 6 is my favorite gin," Lacey says. "Martin Miller’s comes in a very close second—and it really depends on what I’m doing with it." In this case, he opted for Martin Miller's to access its subtle notes of cucumber. To season the gin and cider base, he adds touches of lemon and Bittermens Burlesque bitters.
Winter G&T ($10)
As you might have guessed, Lacey reaches for his personal favorite, North Shore's Distiller's Gin No. 6—locally produced out of Lake Bluff, Illinois—for his wintertime gin and tonic. Lacey is making a beautiful sarsaparilla tonic syrup for this drink, which complements the unctuously lemon- and lavender-forward North Shore gin with spicier, more bracing botanicals. Soda guns are nowhere to be found behind the Ada St. bar; handsome 2-liter soda siphons will produce the carbonated water needed for drinks.
Sherry Cobbler ($10)
If Lacey falls in love with a spirit when tasting it alone, he tends to find a place for it on his cocktail menus. The Alvear Festival Pale Cream sherry (made in Andalucía, Spain) in Ada St.'s Sherry Cobbler is a perfect example. It had a deeply satisfying sweetness he thought would be a welcome flavor in winter. In general, Lacey uses a light hand with garnishes—employing them only when their presence adds something meaningful to the overall drink—such as with the muddled blood orange slices here.
Felonious Monk ($10)
Featured in the avant-garde recipe book Beta Cocktails, Lacey's gin- and beer-based Felonious Monk is "kind of a pain-in-the-ass drink," he says with a smile. "It’s got a lot of ingredients, egg whites, dry shaking, and everything else." But the work Ada St.'s bartenders must do to execute this elegant concoction is well worth the effort. Besides its musical associations, the name alludes to the drink's many monkish ingredients: "I ran after every monastic thing I could get," he says. "So you have the abbey-style ale [Allagash Dubbel], the Benedictine, you have the Yellow Chartreuse.” Lacey is diverging from the precise Beta recipe a bit, using Plymouth Gin instead of Martin Miller’s—since the Plymouth Distillery is located in the former monastery the pilgrims stayed at the night before they left England for the New World.
All Tomorrow's Parties ($10)
Named for a Velvet Underground song, this bittersweet buck features Fernet Branca, ginger beer, and lime. When Lacey first envisioned this drink, he suspected it would either be really good…or really bad. The former prevailed.
In the Reins ($10)
Another of Lacey's complexly layered cocktails, In the Reins combines Rhum Clement VSOP, an aged rhum agricole from Martinique; Maurin Quina, a sweet, brightly acidic French quinine liqueur; a rare, one-off North Shore Distillery production called Eldergin, made from 250 pounds of Missouri elderberries; Bittercube Jamaican #1 bitters; lemon; and honey. The title refers to a joint EP between Iron and Wine and Calexico. When Lacey's handful of Eldergin bottles are cashed, this drink will be no more.
Bird on a Wire ($10)
Altos Reposado tequila, The Bitter Truth Pimento Dram, King's Ginger, and lime make up this fresh yet brooding cocktail, which Lacey named after one of this favorite Leonard Cohen tracks. He shaved a little bit of fresh nutmeg onto the top of the glass for garnish.
Hot Rods to Honolulu ($10)
This is a fun drink to watch being made, chiefly because of the Del Maguey Minero "torch" it gets as a finishing touch (a little 151 mixed into the spray bottle helps with ignition). In the glass you have Old Weller 107 bourbon, grilled-pineapple juice, lemon, and tiki bitters. Lacey has been surprised by the wide, warm reception this tiki-inspired drink has gotten at Ada St.'s early preview events—the audiences for overproof bourbon and pineapple don’t necessarily overlap by much, he figured. But the unusual yet winning blend of flavors are hard to fault. "This is one that tasted way better in reality than it did in my head," he says.
Tangled Up in Blue ($10)
Yellow Chartreuse makes several appearances on Ada St.'s cocktail menu, which is a state of affairs I happily endorse. Here the herbaceous liqueur is combined with Pig's Nose blended Scotch whisky, and orange bitters. The musical reference? That'd be Dylan.
Applejack Julep ($10)
Sometimes called "America's Calvados," the Laird's 100-proof bonded applejack featured in Lacey's julep is something of a national treasure. And no, that's not mutant mint; Lacey used one of his metal julep-style shot glasses to present this drink (Ada St.'s shipment of full-size julep cups hadn't come in yet).
Old School Sazerac ($10)
In keeping with his affinity for classic cocktails like the julep and sherry cobbler, Lacey has included a Sazerac on the debut menu—made according to the drink's original recipe, which called for cognac, not rye. (It wasn't until phylloxera wiped out cognac production in the mid-1800s that Americans began drinking their Sazeracs with more readily available rye.) For this old-school rendition, Lacey uses Pierre Ferrand 1840, a relatively new product that drinks historian David Wondrich helped develop for optimal mixability.
"Usually when I make limoncello, it takes a couple of weeks or a month or so for it to really work," Lacey explains. "This only took five or six hours." The reason: Lacey infused El Dorado 151-proof rum with lemon instead of the more common vodka. Cut with an equal-parts simple syrup, this rich and lemon-peel-forward limoncello comes in at around 75 proof. “It’ll knock you on your ass, but not right away,” Lacey says with a laugh.
Gonna Love You Until the Wheels Come Off ($10)
This is a dessert cocktail I'd drink anytime. Lacey starts with a base of Grand Marnier, to which he adds lemon and Belle Helene jam—a decadent chocolate and pear jam that Lacey's wife makes. "My wife’s been going on a jam bender the last few years,” he says. Rich and Nutella-esque, the jam's recipe is based on one pulled from a French cookbook by a pastry chef from Alsace, which in turn, Lacey says, was adapted from an Escoffier dessert. In addition to garnishing the drink with pickled apple slices Lacey makes himself, "We’re also carbonating this one à la minute." Teaspoons of citric acid and baking soda are added right before the drink is served for a light, tingling finish. His goal was to make the best chocolate soda ever. He's definitely on to something.