One balmy afternoon a few weeks ago, I propped up on the bar stool and braved 11 cocktails at Bar Congress for this Serious Eats article. I’ve always adored the drinks here, especially when paired with the enticing bar snacks from their sister restaurant, Second Bar + Kitchen.
I was excited to sample the new cocktail menu that’s created by the new bar manager, Jason Stevens. I knew this shoot was going to be a treat, but also a challenge. As usual, the more I tasted, the tougher it became to hold my camera still.
I’ve developed several rules that I stick by when photographing and tasting a long series of cocktails. Firstly, I conduct the interview before I start tasting to make sure I get all the facts straight. Secondly, we always start with stirred drinks, then move onto shaken, and save icy drinks for the end. Shooting the durable drinks first ensures that I’m not left with a puddle of diluted, undrinkable mess at the end. Lastly, I only drink enough to take tasting notes… until the shoot is over. After wrapping up, it’s all fair game.
That day, the most memorable drink that Jason concocted was The Oracle. It’s a deeply smoky, spirit forward cocktail that would serve well as a pre-dinner sipper or as an aperitif. I was captivated by the smooth and full bodied rye creation with a dark cherry finish. Fortunately, Jason gifted me the recipe so I can replicate it at home – as can you. Give the recipe below a try and I dare you to not make another immediately after.
By Jason Stevens at Bar Congress
Prep time: 5 minutes
Yield: 1 cocktail
1 3/4 oz Michters rye (or Templeton rye, if you can get it)
3/4 oz Averna amaro
3/4 oz Cocchi di Torino
2 bsp. (barspoons) Del Maguey Chi Chicapa
garnish: Flamed orange peel and cherry.
Combine all except garnish in a mixing glass, add cubed ice and stir for 20-25 seconds.
Flame orange peel in empty coupe glass, pour cocktail on top.
Garnish with cherry and peel.