David and I beat the after-work rush and strolled into The Anthologist around 4:30 on Friday afternoon. David asked for his staple- a Manhattan- and I ordered a Very Old Creation, which is their twist on an Old Fashioned and is listed on the cocktail menu. Now you guys, I never order from the menu but have decided it's important to start doing so time and again in order to become familiar with a cocktail bar's unique perspective, i.e. I'm doing it in the name of research. The barwoman we ordered from didn't know how to make a Manhattan, and as my warning flags started to rise, she passed us off to the manager, Pete, who was incredibly obliging and promised to take excellent care of us. I'm very happy to say that he accomplished this quite easily.
I generally find that the Old Fashioned is a little too sticky and syrupy for me, so I was pleased to find that the Very Old Creation was pleasant, tart and charmingly citrusy instead. The base bourbon, Buffalo Trace, is complimented with pink grapefruit juice, angostura bitters, rhubarb bitters, and brown sugar (I asked them to go light on the sugar in mine), is served with a giant ice ball and garnished with a lemon peel. Overall, it was quite nice.
After our first cocktail, we were introduced to the head mixologist who's named Ben. When I meet people who know what they're doing, I become very trustworthy and adventurous, so when Ben offered to make me something off the menu, I was more than happy to let him work his magic. The end result, a French Canadian Sazerac is made with Canadian Club and features hints of maple syrup, lavender, and cardamon. It's garnished with a beautiful star anise which I thought complimented the bottom of the glass quite nicely, no? I was pleased with the drink's bright and forward flavor and, as I sipped, was completely won over.
Now, a good cocktail bar needs to boast more than just a good cocktail and thankfully there are a few other reasons to like The Anthologist. They include, but are not limited to, the following:
- A comfortable atmosphere that nicely transitions from restaurant to bar to lounge as you meander through
- A stunning lavatory with yummy smelling hand soap and plenty of mirror space for lipstick applications and iPhone mirror photos (ladies, you know how important this is!)
- Quality bar ingredients (did you see that fresh mint?)
- Reasonably priced drinks
- A laid back crowd that didn't seem to get too sloppy (but we left earlyish so you never know...)