The other night, I met the lovely Jason for a few cocktails at the similarly lovely Flatiron Lounge. Part of the early round of the cocktail craze, Flatiron Lounge opened in 2003 with an ambitious menu of classic and innovative cocktails. Though they do feature a few aquavit and vodka cocktails, Flatiron is heavy on the bourbon, rye, gin and even tequila.
Jason and I zeroed in on bourbon and gin, natch. My first drink was the Bramble, a mix of gin, lemon juice and creme de mure, which is a blackberry liqueur. It's served over crushed ice and garnished with a blackberry, and is, in a word, too-licious. It's a bit sweeter than I normally lean, but it's complex and tasty, too, so the sweet is just fine.
My second drink? A classic, perfectly balanced bourbon Manhattan. I like my Manhattans the feature the traditional 2-to-1 ratio of bourbon to vermouth, and our bartender clearly agreed. A dash of bitters takes the cocktail from yummy to to-die-for, and is, frankly, an absolute must.
Jason enjoyed two cocktails - the first was a gin cocktail flavored through and through with orange: orange bitters, orange peel. It was divine, and, for the life of me, I can't remember the name. His second drink was a Last Word, another classic, this time made with gin, lime juice, chartreuse and maraschino. It's delightfully tart and just a little bitter - everything a good cocktail should be.
37 West 19th Street (Between 5th and 6th Avenues)