“Fill with mingled cream and amber,
I will drain that glass again.
Such hilarious visions clamber
Through the chambers of my brain.
Quaintest thoughts — queerest fancies,
Come to life and fade away:
What care I how time advances?
I am drinking ale today.”
– Edgar Allan Poe
As a fan of the written word and superior cocktails, I was basically duty-bound to attend the third annual Craft Spirit of Poe celebration bash, thrown by the Les Dames d’Escoffier. Held at the spectacular Loft at 600 F, this was just heaven: three floors of the finest literary-themed cocktails you can imagine, cool people, and all the crab bites you could eat. Everyone was there – Bourbon Steak, Buffalo & Bergen, The Gibson, Hank’s Dupont, Jack Rose, Masseria, McClellen’s Retreat, Ripple, Roofers Union, Room 11, Twisted Horn and Vinoteca. Also exciting was the homage each drink paid to the Poe pantheon, allowing nerds like myself to geek out at the often esoteric references while sipping. The most creative take I thought was Julien-Pierre Bourgon’s (Masseria) “Pit and the Pendulum” which you can view in action here. I took a few snaps of the menu, the crowd, and bartenders at work; Bright Young Things also has some good pictures of the event.
It’s something of a farce to pick my favorites since all 12 cocktails offered were home runs, but I’ll give it a go. My top three starts with “T’Erin Up My Heart” by Erin Goodman at Roofer’s Union. Light and airy with a nice kick at the end, this combination of gin, lemon juice, egg white, and several syrups has a great, soft taste that almost covers up its power. Next is the “Edgar Allan Poe Nee” from Lukus Smith at Dram and Grain, which was wonderfully refreshing and complex with a lemon grass flavor that just descends from beautiful taste to beautiful taste. And lastly, my favorite <drumroll> “The Gold Rush” from Caroline Blundell at Ripple. One of the best cocktails I’ve ever had, this drink was a perfect mix of pineapple syrup, citrus, yellow chartreuse, and Belle Isle moonshine. The moonshine burn and the pineapple tinge just work perfectly together, culminating in an amazing taste that should be enjoyed sip by sip. Amazing. See you all next year!