The best, in fact the only, cocktail I've had this week was not made Chez Diva - and I won't even attempt to recreate it. Doing so would require a kind of mixological magic I am not yet prepared to undertake ... like mixing up my own batch of orgeat, for instance. Perhaps I'll do so someday, but not quite yet ... at least not while Dutch Kills is around to do it for me.
The latest in the string of premier mixologist Sasha Petraske's ultra cool cocktail salons, Dutch Kills has everything I want in a bar ... and slightly less*. We hopped the 7 train to Long Island City, Queens on Tuesday night to do some celebrating and my birthday adventure did not disappoint. When asked where I wanted to go that night, my answer was immediate and firm: Dutch Kills. I've been reading about it for weeks and was dying to try any one of their signature offerings.
Their list of specialty drinks changes monthly, and if I'd had any sense at all, I would have brought a pad and pen so I could take notes. I didn't and more's the pity. What I can tell you is that all five drinks on offer this month appealed and you'd be hard pressed to find a more interesting mix. I chose the Wild Orchid, pictured above, and it was spectacular. A blend of gin, elderflower liqueur, fresh lemon juice and house made orgeat, topped off with a finish of red wine. There may well have been something else in there for all I know ... and I don't ... I was too captivated by the hand-cubed ice and stunning bloom atop my drink to notice. I loved it! I loved everything about it.
The husband sampled the fresh Grapefruit Collins and my dear friend O sipped on The Separatist, a stunning blend of bourbon, amaro, and who the hell knows what else. All I know is that it was one potent potable and mighty tasty to boot. We were very happy with our selections.
All of the offerings are made with fresh, hand juiced fruit, top shelf liquor and, as is the custom in any serious cocktail salon, the ice is hand carved and shaped according to glass and spirit-ual needs. Our conversation with one of the mixologists revealed that they arrive two hours prior to opening in order to cut the ice and ready the fresh ingredients. These people are serious about their drinks.
The space is rather quirky, but appropriately dark and atmospheric. My one criticism in this regard is the bar itself; though gorgeous, its far too small*. (This is the "less" to which I refer above.) A large part of the appeal here is in watching the experts craft the cocktails ... and there simply isn't enough room at that bar for everyone to do so. If you're lucky enough to grab seats the bar, and we were, great ... if not, you'll be relegated to either the dark and sawdust-y "piano room" in the back, or the lovely (yet far from the bar) wooden booths up front. Square footage wise, Dutch Kills is a dream. There's plenty of room for everyone ... just not at the beautiful bar.
That said, a visit to Dutch Kills is an absolute treat! Its exactly the kind of place I'd love to own ... and, you can't beat the prices. $9 for most cocktails which is quite the value when compared to Manhattan pricing. I recommend it, highly ... and I can't wait to return!
Directions and hours of operation can be found on their website, links above.