If you’ve been to MistralKitchen—and experienced all its sharp and modern Kundigian angles —it might surprise you that the restaurant serves up such a sweet little slurpee of a drink as the one pictured here. But it would seem, my friends, that this tin man has a heart. If the Peach Smash Good doesn’t convince you, consider the restaurant’s Bergamot Blazer, a cocktail that comes in a pretty tea cup with a little cookie for dipping.
The Peach Smash Good is Sailor Jerry spiced rum, Drambuie, white peach puree, fresh squeezed lemon, and fresh thyme. Unfortunately for the bartender on duty last night, the stock of thyme stalks had been depleted by Chef William Belickis’s father who, on the previous evening, had smuggled it into a Bolognese he made for the restaurant’s staff. How do I know this? Belickis’s mom was sitting next to me at the bar, visiting with a friend or relative over snacks and wine. The friend/relation was overheard to declare Belickis’s foie gras the best she ever tasted. I half expected her to tussle his hair after she said it.
When he had the chance, the bartender went to some storeroom and brought me back my thyme; it was lovely to stick my nose up close to the julep cup and get a big whiff of it before I sipped.
At the top of the cocktail menu at MistralKitchen (all drinks are $11) you’ll find the following line: "Cocktails are listed in order of similarity to dreamy fluffy clouds transitioning to bitter angry poets." The Bee’s Knees is listed first, and is thus presumably the fluffiest cloud. It is a tasty little number featuring Old Tom Gin, lemon, honey syrup, egg white, and bitters. But I also enjoyed the angriest poet, the so-called Bitter Handshake (Fernet Branca, blood orange reduction, a housemade wild turkey rye syrup, and orange zest). The handshake is chilled with one of bar manager Andrew Bohrer’s signature spheres—basically a baseball of ice in your glass.
I found it to be a funny experience, drinking such gussied-up olde-timey drinks in such a relentlessly modern setting. Funny, but not at all unpleasant.