A lot has happened since we last visited Olmsted. They received a two star review from the New York Times (which served to boost the mighty bump they doubtlessly received after our post), and they finally got their liquor license, allowing head bartender Mike Bohn to take full advantage of their entirely edible backyard.
So unless a rush on reservations due to the former prevents you from scoring a seat this month, be sure to snag a taste of the latter before they entirely transform for fall.
“Not only is the presentation really nice with its salt foam garnish, but this tequila and tonic drink really represents how we work together with the kitchen, taking bits of produce and herbs they don’t use and figuring out ways to integrate them in the bar,” Bohn said. “Greg, our chef, was also playing with rhubarb a lot for a while, so this really ended up complementing a lot of the dishes he was serving.”
“We have a bunch of big rosemary bushes, and I had toyed around with mixing rosemary and mezcal before, so this one just made sense. Usually you pair lime juice with mezcal, but I added lemon instead which has a sweeter, gentler acidity. There’s aperol for a bitter note, and chipotle syrup for smokiness, and it’s all tied together with a black lava salt and cayenne pepper rim. There’s a lot going on not just in terms of flavor, but color as well–you have this really orange drink contrasting with a flourish of black lava.”
“I knew I wanted something simple and strong, based off of a classic gin martini. And this drink just came together when Ian, our farmer, asked if I’d ever thought about using nasturtium, which has a really spicy, peppery bite. I figured out a way to blend it into the gin instead of just doing a simple infusion, and then strain it so it retains a lot of its beautiful green color and flavor, not to mention minerals. Then I added in vermouth for sweetness and made a bay leaf tincture for the bitter element.”
“This is our low ABV cocktail. Ian showed up one day, dropped a piece of sassafras in front of me that he’d found in the woods and told me to smell it. Obviously, it smells just like root beer, and tastes like it too. I got really excited and made a syrup with it, and then decided to mix it with fernet. It goes down easy just like a nice cold root beer. It’s a little on the sweeter side but super refreshing.”
659 Vanderbilt Ave., Prospect Heights, (718) 552-2610
Photos by Nicole Fara Silver