Monday, November 30, 2009

Tavern Law redux + gin favorites

So, it happened. I promised that if I made a return visit to Tavern Law and actually ventured upstairs this time, I would share my findings.

It’s not the fact that the theoretically exclusive second floor space is speakeasy-themed that makes it so appealing, it’s the funky layout and company that did it for me. As you come up the stairs you wind around to several nook-like spaces on different levels as well as a tiny bar, all of which make for good hideaway spots for conversation. We spent a considerable amount of time at that tiny bar, chatting with bartender Miles and hearing about his very own line of bitters and syrups called “Scrappy Bitters.”

[The mention of which requires a short sidebar… What’s with bitters bitters everywhere all of the sudden? Last week at Cicchetti I asked the bartender that question and he thought it went with the renewed popularity of the classic cocktail and all the ingredients that go along with it. Sure, I’ll buy that. ]

We had some of the same food as on our last visit to Tavern Law, but the drinks really took center stage this time. In addition to our first cocktail of the evening, a Miles concoction based on my reported current state of mind (“optimistic and enthusiastic”), he noted that I was a gin fan and poured a mini tasting for us. My go-to gins are typically Bombay Sapphire, Hendrick’s and Dry Fly when I’m in the mood to support the hometown distillery. I really enjoyed some of what I tried this time around, though. Aviation made another appearance, twice in one night in fact, after sampling earlier in the evening at Spinasse. Also very clean and smooth and a little more my style was the Plymouth. Though quite drinkable, I thought Miller’s was just the tiniest bit too floral for me. The real standout and the biggest surprise was the Ransom and its amber color, apparently aged and made in the Old Tom style.

The evening at Tavern Law ended with a pouring of Campano Antica, which is unlike any vermouth I’ve ever had. A bit on the sweet side but like the Ransom fantastic on its own or when fashioned into a cocktail. Coincidentally, those two were also featured in a drink l I had the next week at Cicchetti. Keep this up and I might just start to fancy myself a liquor aficionado, or at the very least an “appreciative consumer.”


  1. Nice post, Alix! I haven't tried Ransom, but now I really want to. Here's a gin for you if you haven't tried it already: Old Raj. Made with saffron. It's my current favorite...

  2. Thanks very much, and thanks for the tip on Old Raj. I haven't tried it yet so looks like another to add to my "to be sampled" list...

  3. Did you sample any food at Tavern Law? While the drinks are supposed to be exraordinary I've heard mixed reviews on the bites.

  4. Funny you should ask that, Andrew... I absolutely raved about the food at Tavern Law in an earlier post, and on the return trip it was still good but didn't blow my socks off in quite the same way. I stand by my love of the pate, though; best ever by far.