With warmer weather comes the addition of refreshing, lighter mixed drinks on cocktail menus around town. And some of the most creative examples can be found at B&O American Brasserie in Hotel Monaco.
I attended a media tasting last week, where bar manager Brendan Dorr presented some his new cocktails. Fittingly, we started out with Morning Dew ($10), a mix of Tanqueray No. Ten gin, St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur, lemon, cucumber water, and mint. This was a bright cocktail, with the lemon bringing out the citrus-y notes from the gin. The cucumber and mint added an extra fresh quality, making this a perfect outside sipper.
No spring cocktail list would be complete without a little tequila and the Burro Mexicano ($10) certainly packed a punch with Milagro tequila, Peloton de la Muerte Mezcal, lime, ginger syrup, and ginger beer. Up front, the cocktail tasted smoky from the mezcal, but the spice and tart flavors started to cut through and balance it out—resulting in a complex and tasty tequila drink.
The highlight came in the form of the E.M.H. Daiquiri ($10), a tribute to Ernest Hemingway's days in Cuba with Appleton rum, grapefruit gastrique, lime, and Maraschino liqueur. Maybe it's my recent bias for grapefruit cocktails, but I thought this drink hit every note perfectly: the sweet, brown-sugar flavor of the rum, tang from the grapefruit, and the bitter quality of the Maraschino, with a hint of citrus from the lime. We can see why this drink's inspiration was Hemingway's favorite cocktail.
In addition to the cocktail list, B&O is also featuring many new spring dishes including innovative salads, bone marrow, scallops, and a zucchini "crab cake" (you'll just have to try it.)
An ideal time to visit is during the restaurant's happy hour, 4:30-6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, which features $3 draft beer, $4 house wine, and $5 cocktail of the day, as well as "6 for $6"—a selection of six small plates from the kitchen.