Friday, April 1, 2016

Boston, Part 2

At the end of our last post, we had just left Drink, the warehouse cellar of mixology, and was immediately assaulted by the coarse Atlantic air, now a brisk 50-something degrees and whipping. Cindy had a lead on a bar and bartender at the Ritz-Carlton; luckily, the bar is known for its blazing eye-level fireplace, unluckily, it was still a mile walk away! Comforted by the fact that we are Wisconsinites still acclimated to continental old-man-winter, we sauntered down Altantic Avenue and up Essex to the Ritz’s bar, the Avery.

The Avery Bar is a relatively new bar emulating upscale 1950s digs- huge chandelier, warm wood color palette, and geometric-patterned carpet. The bar itself is centrally located, but plays a low-key feature in a space that is meant to create a semi-private atmosphere for well-to-do travelling couples. Not looking for quiet corners, we sat at the bar. The only person there was Sterling, the bartender Cindy was made aware of earlier in the day. We made her acquaintance and collected drink menus from her. From the menu, it was obvious that the Avery is a martini bar. Their selection of cocktails is led by the ‘Avery Ten,’ a gathering of variations of the classic martini that include dry, dirty, fire, gibson, gimlet, and the like, all for a Ritzy $15 a piece. I ordered a fave of mine, a sidecar, and Cindy ordered an espresso martini.

Drink: Espresso Martini

Establishment: The Avery Bar at the Ritz-Carlton
Location: Boston, Massachusetts
First Connoisseur: Cindy

2 ounces Kahlua 

1 ounce vanilla vodka
1 ounce espresso
Dash Bailey’s Irish cream
Dash chocolate bitters

Shake on ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with coffee beans.

As we warmed up with our drinks, the Avery gradually filled and Sterling, not the big talker, went on about her work. We ordered a second round, and since I was at a retro martini bar, I ordered a Vesper, the first drink ever featured here at the Firewater Lounge. As I babbled to Cindy about a crazy Boston morning radio show I had heard on my way to Lexington, Sterling finally chimed in with her two cents, and the Avery-privacy-barrier was broken.

Drink: Vesper Martini

First Connoisseur: Holly

3 ounces London dry gin (Avery uses Beefeater)

1 ounce vodka (Avery uses Grey Goose)
½ ounce Lillet Blanc

Shake all over ice. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a large, thin lemon twist. 

Since we had the Freedom Trail to do in the morning, we had to say goodbye to Sterling and the Avery and head back to our wharf-side hotel.

The morning came quicker than I would have liked, but I recovered and we started off in the footsteps of our forefathers/mothers. We visited the site of the Boston Massacre, numerous graveyards, Paul Revere’s house and the Old North Church. The day warmed considerably from the night before, which sent us out in search of beer and food.

We found food at the Green Dragon Tavern, the headquarters of the American Revolution. The tavern itself is not the same tavern that the Boston Tea Party was planned or where Paul Revere was sent on his famous ride (since the original Green Dragon was demolished in 1854), but sits on the same area as its old namesake. We partook of the Patriot Pleasure appetizers- a plate full of calamari and a generous heap of crispy homemade potato chips with beer cheese sauce.

Just steps away from the Green Dragon is the oldest tavern in the nation, the Bell in Hand. The Bell in Hand’s first pour was in 1795 when fifty-year Bostonian town crier Jimmy Wilson decided to open a tavern and named it after the tool of his old trade- the bell. Now Jimmy wasn’t down with whisky or rum or gin, he was a beer guy all the way. The old tale goes that Jimmy’s ale was so thick that you needed two mugs, one for the brew and the second for the head! Following Jimmy’s traditions, we slaked our thirsts with suds. In Irish Bostonian fashion, Cindy opted for Guinness, while I took in a house Bell in Hand ale. The Bell in Hand ale is a traditional American amber made for the tavern by Sam Adams (Boston Beer Company). With a lightly sweet open followed by touches of pleasantly sour notes of citrus and a subtle hop finish, the Bell in Hand ale is not all that memorable, but welcome to the foot-traveling tourist in the heat of the day. 

As the late afternoon gave way to evening, a search for cocktails ensued...but that is a tale for a later post...

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