'first looks' on Serious Eats

First Look: It's All About Scotch at The Old Sage in Seattle

The oddity of bright, eccentric murals in the middle of a classic, dark space underlines Brian McCracken and Dana Tough's struggle away from bar trends. Nobody else was paying much attention to scotch, they point out. "Smoked meats and malts," the sign proclaims over the door of the Old Sage, sibling to Tavern Law, Spur, and the Coterie Room, succinctly getting to the heart of the mater. More

First Look: Mixing with Maotai at Lao 18 in Chicago

"This bottle alone costs approximately $600 retail," explained mixer Allie Kim as she handed over a bottle of Maotai. The Chinese government has given it out as a diplomatic gift, while newscaster Dan Rather famously once said it was like drinking "liquid razor blades." At newly opened River North Chinese spot Lao 18, they've incorporated it (in very small doses) into their cocktail program. More

First Look: Cocktails at Qui in Austin, Texas

When diners arrive at Paul Qui's long awaited formal restaurant, simply named qui, they are first escorted to the bar, where bar manager Michael Simon and his team shake up pre-dinner beverages that can also be sipped on the restaurant's spacious patio. "There are lots of savory elements to the drinks," said Simon. "They're boozy but balanced; salty, sweet, and sour, so they can pair well with food." More

First Look: All the Cocktails at Parson's Chicken & Fish, Chicago

Parson's is the latest restaurant venture of Land & Sea Dept., a Chicago-based cohort of design-savvy entrepreneurs whose best-known work, Longman & Eagle, is at once an ambitious, Michelin-starred dining destination and an old-school whiskey-pouring neighborhood tavern. With the introduction of Parson's, LSD's methodology grows clearer: melt down a few cultural-historical references (Southern rock, classic American cars, a black-and-white photo depicting circa-1970s-style revelry), tap a promising chef to stir the pot, and leaven with a sprinkle of unassuming, modern-eclectic design. More

First Look: New Summer Cocktails at The Alembic, San Francisco

Though summer nights elsewhere might have you craving a tall, frosty Tom Collins, the truth is that even the warmest San Francisco days dissolve into cool evenings. What's a bar manager to do? For Danny Louie and Ethan Terry of Alembic on Haight Street in San Francisco, the answer is to craft seasonal drinks—"but not too seasonal," says Louie. You'll see ripe strawberries, but not in a highball. There's a tart tequila drink, but it has added complexity from Oregon-made coffee liqueur, Mexican Fernet, and Spanish brandy. More

First Look: Cocktails at Melibea, NYC

Drinks at the recently opened West Village restaurant are grouped not by style or ingredient but by texture, falling under one of four categories: Linen, Silk, Velvet, and Leather. Raphael Reyes, formerly of 1534 and the Experimental Cocktail Club, is head bartender, though he is quick to note that the list is very much a collaborative effort with his team, which includes veterans from Pegu Club and Pouring Ribbons. More

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