It’s Friday Night!
I was hyper-anxious to have an adventure for the weekend upstate NY, but I simply could not sit still for a whole evening waiting for Saturday to arrive. I wanted to treat myself to a drink to celebrate the beginning of my weekend .
I’ve been daydreaming of the Bedford Backbar - the high upholstered espresso leather seats in a cigar lounge vibe ambient space. My only visit was Super Bowl XLVIII Sunday and had the entire Backbar to myself with bourbon on the rocks and oysters in the half shell… so I was curious to experience it on a regular evening.
Red lipstick, navy blazer and tan suede cowboy boots to pump myself up to go out about town solo. I reach my intended destination, but I hear electro-pop tunes and cackling of a much too young of a crowd for my comfort zone. I turn back around to the front corner thinking to myself Hemingway’s version of a cafe in “A Clean Well Lighted Place” may be more desirable for my current temperament. I wanted a stiff drink that I could enjoy in peace or with non-invasive company. I started to contemplate The Bedford Restaurant where the white stuccoed walls with wrought iron fixtures accompanied with the soft glow of candles made it appealing to where my 6th sense was pointed. I take a step inside to be faced with this fabulous specials menu, and I knew I was in the right place.
- Heirloom Tomato Salad w/ basil green goddess dressing + smoked almonds $13
- Burrata w/ pickled stone fruit + arugula $12
- Watermelon Salad w/ heirloom tomatoes, basil, mint + ricotta salata $12
So, I have this really bad habit of reading menus from the bottom up.
Usually the best house items are on the top of the menu - as I laboriously read to the top - to my delight is their ‘Pecan Old Fashioned’ second on their list - ‘whiskey, house made pecan syrup, orange slice and port infused cherry muddled with Reagan’s orange bitters’
I order with the Peppy Bartender and then take my time absorbing the atmosphere. Rustic bare roof beams across the ceiling give it a country feel with the marble bar counter top and backlit bar wall give it a european cafe chillout space. I hear a galloping noise - only to realize it is the bartender shaking the cocktail in a rhythmic motion that made it sound like a galloping horse from a Western. I comment to the peppy bartender as he serves my enticing beverage that his shaker sounds like a galloping horse, maybe he could give it a signature nickname!
We toss around some ideas, when I come up “the shaker is silver - what about Hi Ho Silver!?”
“Thats great! I’m going to take that one from you!”
Peppy Bartender inquired about the beverage.
I was completely enthralled by the smooth foamy shaken texture with rich tones of bright citrus and sultry cherry rounding the welcome glow of the whiskey. The conversation migrated to Peppy Bartender’s strengths being Tequila and Rums and not so much Whiskey, and how he’s been destroyed by Jameson previously. In my opinion Jameson is a sweeter whiskey and that for me sweeter spirits tend to give me the nuisance hangover. I conveyed I personally prefer bottles in the direction of Bulleit Bourbon or Buffalo Trace Bourbon.
Unbeknownst to me the succulent port cherries and team have disappeared from my glass - and before I could respond to “Una mas?” Peppy Bartender was off Hi Ho Silvering the next one.
The next round came with a challenge:
“I changed the spirit in this one - see if you can guess it!”
I take a cautious sip - blaming myself for not carefully paying extra attention to the first one. The cherries and orange are definitely present - but the undertone is noticeably different.
I am now painstakingly hemming and hawing over my beverage. I don’t consider myself to have any sort of expertise in blind tasting skills - so I was eventually offered a hint “This whiskey came up earlier in our conversation today.”
“Lets see... we discussed Jameson, Bulleit and Buffalo Trace…. well Jameson is sweet, and this is definitely not sweet.”
“Why would I want to use Jameson when it didn’t take care of me!?”
“Umm… if I remember anything about the other two options, I feel as if Buffalo Trace was darker and sharper, so if I had to guess, then this would be Bulleit.”
“I like how you went through the deduction process - you’re right!”
So it turns out Peppy Bartender does have a name. Kat - who has been bartending the NYC area for 10 years. I showed him the picture with his superbly crafted beverage, and he claimed he doesn't have a bartending portrait of himself - so I sent him the photo, and in turn I gained a new friend!
Yay Friday Night!