old-fashioned cocktails? [General]

2009 Aug 10
Is there a place in Ottawa to get "vintage" cocktails (for lack of a better term)
I'm thinking of mint juleps, tom collins, or an "old fashioned" itself (en.wikipedia.org).

I suppose I could get them anywhere if the bartender knows how to make them. But, you know.

2009 Aug 10
I would love to know too. I'm tired of coaching 20 something barkeeps on how to make a proper gin martini.

2009 Aug 10
Arugula - Soooo true. If it ain't a shooter then it seems they don't know anything about mixology.

Here's a cute story...

I was in a Restaurant Bar recently and an older couple came in to have Dinner (sat at a table), the Server told the Bartender that the lady wanted a Kir Royale, the Bartender didn't even have a clue. It took a couple of middle agers like myself & "The Man" to tell him he needed to mix either Champagne / Sparkling Wine (or even White Wine) with Creme de Cassis...

Get this, not only did he not know this drink, but he didn't have a clue was Cassis was... the bar had some, but again it was a case of "The Man" pointing the bottle out to him.

Guess all you need to be a Bartender these days is be able to pour a beer with a big head.


2009 Aug 11
this is more a problem of finding the right bartender than a restaurant/bar that specializes in those cocktails. remember, this isn't the roaring '20s ;P

that being said the bartenders at The Collection or Social seem to know what they're doing. also, i can't find it online right now but the Ottawa XPress always does those "Best Of" polls and i believe there's a bartender category. that might give you a lead.

2009 Aug 11
Ah, what I would not give to be able to get a Pimms #1 or a glass of Harveys Bristol cream sherry at a bar. Sadly none of these seem to be on the radar in Ottawa. At least I can buy my own sherry and have a glass on a cold winters night before i have my dinner, btw it is also wonderful served over ice in the summer.

2009 Aug 11
I tend to do my mixing at home these days, but when I didn't, I found the Manhattans at the Elgin St. Freehouse quite good. I'm very particular about my drinks, and those were great -- and when served by someone who wasn't familiar with me, they would generally ask how I preferred them (ie: whisky/vermouth ratio, light/heavy on the bitters, &c). And some of my friends were fond of the gimlets, and they looked nice, but I can't stand gin.

And some might cringe at this, but I was somewhere (Benitz, maybe?) and had a pair of Manhattans with a date, and mine came in a double old-fashioned glass on the rocks and my date's came shaken in a martini glass (and was slightly less high-octane). Some might find it sexist, I suppose, but I thought it was a nice touch.

2009 Aug 11
I make them myself with an expansive home bar as there is indeed lack of trained mixologists.

2009 Aug 11
Monty - Totally agree, the issue is "the Bartender" and not so much the establishment... what has happened? I mean it now seems like anyone can be hired to be a Bartender... and yet here we sit with Algonquin's great Hospitality Program that is supposed to be putting out Bartending / Mixologists annually... where ever do they end up? I know if I was in the Restaurant Biz (and especially the Bar Biz) I'd be looking to hire a person who was either a graduate or working on the program.

But no like I said, just about everywhere you go one ends up with the mediocre... and among other things a poorly drawn beer (I have actually seen beers handed to a customer with about 2 inches of head on a 20oz pour).

2009 Aug 11
flandroid-- the era itself was pretty sexist so I would say it was a nice authentic touch.

Monty- I've never been there, but looking at the Collection website, it seems 95% of the drink names on the menu are some pun on sexual innuendo. Which makes me really not want to visit. I've never been to Social either, but it doesn't seem like a place you would go to just for drinks.

Ottawa is good for a lot of things. Some things it's not so good at but you find some sort of "hidden gem." In regards to this type of mixology, I think it's something Ottawa is definitely lacking. In regards to the Algonquin program, they probably leave town, and I don't blame them in the least.

2009 Aug 11
I looked up the Ottawa xpress article. They have ratings for "best watering hole" and "best bar staff" -- the manx. "Best bar staff" makes me think of friendly first, and perhaps knowledge second. Zaphods is also an honorable mention, so eek. Not that I don't enjoy zaphods, but I don't consider the intergalactic gargleblaster to be what I'm seeking for.

2009 Aug 11
granted, the martini names at The Collection are stupid. it's still a good lounge/martini bar. not sure what gives you the impression you can't go to Social for drinks, but to each his own (?)

what places have you tried to get one of these drinks? maybe that will help us determine suggestions you will "deem worthy".

2009 Aug 11
well, the martini names don't give the impression that they are proficient mixologists. but, a good recommendation definitely negates that.
and, it looks like Social has excellent food, so if I indeed tried to go there for drinks, it might turn into a multi-course meal.

I haven't tried to get these drinks anywhere, due to the aforementioned uncertainty which everyone seems to confirm here. I guess I'm going to have to become more proficient at making them myself.

2009 Aug 11
one last suggestion - try hotel bars. specifically Zoe's in Chateau Laurier...maybe ARC Lounge.

2009 Aug 11
trivia question: what did Jack order?

2009 Aug 11
itchy: after i made the post i dug up the clip on YouTube just to refresh myself of that

i'll let others play (hint: it wasn't a mint julep!)

2009 Aug 11
hehe, my trivia-question-asking skills outpace the ole chestnut size memory. I'm gonna need a youtube refresher myself! :-)

2009 Aug 12
one of my fave summer drinks is the old fashioned Cosmo
most places make insipid versions of it

same with margaritas (please toss out the blender)

seems really sad since both drinks are so simple

2009 Aug 12
bourbon on the rocks no?

otherwise known as "the hair of the dog that bit me". heh

2009 Aug 12
Cakelady, I can tell you a resto that offers Pimms#1
message me

2009 Aug 13
I've had Sidecars at Beckta before, but I don't know if that counts as a watering hole. ;)

2009 Aug 18
Sorry, late to this thread...I used to love Tom collins, albeit with a cheap "Tom Collins mixer", which hasn't been around since the 80's. Anyone know how to duplicate that???