Gin Gin Mule
Mark Peel of Campanile and Audrey Saunders of Pegu NYC have teamed up to crash straight into the post-speakeasy era, and they’re dragging us with them. We’ve landed in the 40′s – after Prohibition, of course – and the beautiful Art Deco interior of The Tar Pit is our proof. Elegance and class ooze from the cushion of each booth lined up along the wall while live jazz gives the ambiance a cozy touch.
Photo courtesy of Caroline on Crack
Old American classics line the bar and dining menu while Saunders’ specially-created cocktail menu lands its place as the freshest compilation in town (for now). Probably the nicest breath of fresh air is the price point being $11 per cocktail – reinforcing the notion that you don’t have to bleed at the nose for a solid cocktail…and that you should stop paying $16 for a ordering the Grey Goose-Red Bull.
Once I absorbed my surroundings, I was relieved I’d worn a dress. Indeed, I wondered if the death of the speakeasy meant the birth of the unspoken, ante’d upÂ dress code in LA. Who are we kidding these days? I took my mother, hailing from the midwest, to see Joseph and the Technicolor Dream Coat at The Pantages and she was shocked to see people wearing jeans to the theatre.
Another indication The Tar Pit aims to evolve the scene is the surprising lack of whiskey drinks on the menu – quite a departure from the other well-known mixology bars in town. You’ll find plenty of gin, however, with a dash of rum, tequila and vodka. Samples of most of their original cocktails were being passed around in coupe glasses on media night, which were perfect for sampling a little bit of everything (even sharing with fellow bloggers) while not getting absolutely trashed in the process.
Of the ones I did get to try, Cucumber-mint creole – made with gin, aquavit, sherry, muddled cucumbers & mint, fresh lemon juice – was a good, refreshing mainstay to have on the menu. The Gin gin mule, their classic gin and ginger beer cocktail, is seasoned with mint and garnished with a slice of lime and candied ginger – the latter of which is a wild card with me, actually.
Tied for my favorite cocktails, one of which actually wasn’t served en masse this particular night, were the Palm frond (lemon myrtle-infused gin, green chartreuse, muddled mint and simple syrup) and Jamaican firefly (dark rum, housemade ginger beer, fresh lime juice, simple syrup). The Palm frond comes with a reed of lemon grace through which you can enjoy your cocktail. Since I like darker spirits, I guess I preferred the Jamaican firefly just barely over the Gin gin mule – or more accurately, prefer dark rum with my ginger beer over gin.