Monday, April 15, 2013

The Maidens Mayhem

I decided to start my Spring/Summer Sunday cocktail expeditions with a trip to the Library at the Public. Being my first time at the Library at the Public, I wanted to go into a little history. According to the website for the Library at the Public:
The Library, named for the building's original use as the Astor Library, is a central element of the mezzanine level, newly built with the revitalization of our landmark building's downtown home at Astor Place. Open late nightly for dinner and cocktail service, the hidden away space plays dinner bar, watering hole or backstage lounge to downtown denizens and neighborhood dwellers, theater-goers coming or going, academics and artists alike.
The space itself was very cozy. It wasn't large with a series of tables and banquettes in the front and middle of the room with a square bar in the back. The room was dimly lit by candles offering a very welcoming and private environment. In terms of what the Library at the Public is looking to do cocktail wise, the website describes it as so:
Our cocktail list uses choice spirits and seasonal house-made mixers from the kitchen, combining tried and true technique and a charming approach to the classics. Our wine list features a small collection of grower champagnes and beers on tap. 
Now that we've established where the Library at the Public stands, on to what I chose to drink.

Since I was going to be at work in an hour or so, I decided to start with something on the lighter side. Since I had never drank a cocktail with a Shrub ingredient, I decided to order a Maiden's Mayhem. Sorry for the not so clear picture. The bar had a nice dark and mellow vibe to it (aside from the dude talking on his phone at the highest voice he could possibly use). I didn't want to take away from it by being that guy blasting off a series of flashes in order to get "the perfect picture". Luckily for me the iPad's camera does a wonderful job in low light situations. Thanks Momma-San =) Here's what goes into the cocktail :
Maiden's Mayhem
Diplomatico Añejo rum
Strawberry Rhubarb Shrub
Club soda
Crushed Ice
Strawberry and Mint garnish
Before I go into what I thought of the cocktail, I wanted to touch upon what shrubs are since I have never used a shrub in a cocktail or drank one in a cocktail. According to the May 26, 2012 article What's shaking in the cocktail scene? Shrubs by Jessica Gelt from the Los Angeles Times website, she describes shrubs as being:
Tart, acidic and weirdly, wonderfully refreshing, drinking vinegars known as "shrubs" are finding a savory home on a growing number of Los Angeles drink menus. Sometimes they're added to soda water as an alternative to mainstream sodas, and sometimes they're mixed with booze as a mouth-pleasing alternative to predictable acids such as lemons and limes. 
In terms of their origins:
Shrubs, which are generally one part juice or fruit macerated with sugar and boiled with vinegar, were mixed with water in 18th century America for refreshment. Vinegar was also used as a preservative and for its supposed medicinal benefits. It was only a matter of time before alcohol made the grade, but shrub cocktails never achieved a full liftoff.
Now that we've established what shrubs are, here is what I thought of the Maiden's Mayhem.

I found it to be very light and tasty with a hint of tartness. There was a sublime strawberry flavor to the cocktail. The club soda gave it a nice level of effervescence that seemed to compliment both the rum and the shrub. This is definitely the type of cocktail that you want when you want to start the night off slow or if you are lounging around.

For the next post, I'll describe the next cocktail I had at The Library at the Public. I asked the bartender to make me a totally opposite drink. She made me The Dandy Riot.

Until Then Happy Drinking,
Sisco Vanilla