In addition to its dramatic presentation, the Travel Section is notable thanks to its central spirit, Cielo Rojo bacanora. "Bacanora recently got imported to the states for the first time—it's somewhere between tequila and mezcal," Christensen says. "It's sexy," Turnshek-Goins adds, noting the round, just-smokey-enough flavor of the spirit. The bacanora is shaken with pineapple gum syrup, fresh lime, coconut milk, and egg white, and topped with "Trade Wind Bitters," which are heavy on the allspice. The flaming finishing touch, in addition to being a pretty baller barkeep move, acts to caramelize the bitters, lending the drink a creme brulee-like burn of toasted allspice.
Man About Town ($10)
The Man About Town, a blend of single-barrel Buffalo Trace bourbon, Carpano Antica sweet vermouth, and Gran Classico, is a riff on a Boulevardier. The team purchased a whole barrel of Buffalo Trace after tasting one "that would be perfect for this drink," Christensen tells us. "It still tastes like Buffalo Trace, but a Buffalo Trace we'd never had before," Turnshek-Goins said.
Vic's Fix ($9)
"This is a total crowd pleaser, it's like a piece of birthday cake!" Turnshek-Goins said of this take on a classic Mai Tai. The cocktail's base of Angostura rum and curacao is based on the 1939 Mai Tai recipe from Trader Vic's—and is then topped with a creamy swirl of almond milk, Small Hands orgeat syrup, egg white, cinnamon, and sugar.
Tipsy Turvy ($10)
Culinary techniques come to the fore in the Tipsy Turvy, a boozy riff on a mint julep. The team places Woodford Bourbon with Anjou pear and angelica root in a sous vide machine. The angelica lends the drink "an earthy quality, and a slightly oily mouthfeel," Chistensen says.
"It extends the flavor of the drink," Turnshek-Goins explains. The herbaceous drink is topped with fresh mint, and served on crushed ice.
Stolen Afternoon ($10)
"We're trying to make a tea time drink," Christensen says of this blend of hibiscus-infused Casa Noble blanco tequila and Earl Grey tea tincture. "It's a tequila Old Fashioned in composition," he says. "We use the Earl Grey like bitters."
The drink is topped with a candy-sweet lemon confiture, and the leftover lemon sugar solution is used to sweeten the drink. The confiture is "old world stuff," Christensen says.
Front Page ($10)
"This drink gave us the most trouble to execute," Christensen says of the rye-based Front Page. "It's the most complex cocktail, and has three very powerful ingredients to balance." The drink is comprised of Wild Turkey 81 rye, Elisir MP Roux liquor (an herbal liqueur with a touch of anise), and Amontillado sherry. "The sherry forms the base, and carries the flavor." Housemade creme de cacao, made using Tcho cocoa nibs in a 21-day process, "gives the drink the weight and the texture," Turnshek-Goins says.
"The whole idea here is to make a Scotch drink that's a crowd pleaser," Christensen and Turnshek-Goins tell us about this tall drink. Black Bottle blended Scotch, fresh lime, and seltzer water are mixed with a housemade cinchona liqueur.
Cinchona ice cube, Rickey-Tikki-Tavi
Some elements of the cinchona liqueur—lemongrass, cardamom, and star anise—are also found in the popsicle-sized ice cube in the drink.
"No one does wine barrel-aged cocktails, because those barrels are huge," Christensen says. "So, we got 60 gallons, $6,000 worth of booze," to age in a Cerruti Cabernet barrel. The blend of High West unaged oat whiskey, Luxardo Maraschino, and Dolin Rouge is aged for about 6 weeks in the barrel, resulting in a smooth, boozy drink, with a touch of sweetness and a hint of tannin from the barrel.
Taking the temperature of the Fancypants
The Fanypants is best served at 30 degrees—the team prefers 29 degrees on some of the other drinks.
Opposable Thumb ($11)
This creamy cocktail begins with a housemade creme de banane, blended with Zaya 12-year rum, Fernet Jelinek (a Czech fernet that is "a little less herbaceous, a little more chocolatey-smooth" than Fernet Branca), saline solution, and a whole egg. It's garnished with Tcho chocolate nibs. The conservative amount of salt "takes it from an 8 to an 11," Christensen says. As for the name: "It's got bananas in it, so it's got to have a monkey name!"
Old Etonian ($8)
"This is a classic cocktail that no one knows about," Christensen says of the gin-forward Old Etonian. Gates of London gin, Kina L'Avion D'Or, housemade creme de noyaux, and kumquat bitters "make the best version of the classic recipe." They've adjusted to proportions of the original: "This is for someone who wants a gin martini, or someone who wants a Vesper," Christensen says. "Nice and boozy, this one."
Tavern Kola ($3)
One of three housemade sodas, the Tavern Kola was a labor of love—or at least, determination. "It's really hard to get a good cola recipe!" Christensen said. Theirs uses all natural ingredients, and the final result has a spicy, almost chai-like flavor.
Punch in the Mouth ($18)
Served in a 500 mL bottle, the Punch in the Mouth includes El Dorado 5-year aged rum, Rhum Clement Premiere Canne Agricole, oolong tea, apple juice, and clarified milk. "Clarified milk punches are pretty old school," says Turnshek-Goins, who was inspired by a clarified milk punch at Trick Dog in San Francisco. The process involves boiling and curdling the milk with lemon juice, then filtering several times. "It takes many hours to filter one batch, but done properly, it yields an amazingly rich beverage that is perfectly clear. It's translucent, yet contains all the silky smooth, unctuous texture/mouthfeel of the whey."