As the restaurant concept at the Hotel Modern takes shape, here's what we can count on behind the bar: seasonal classics and specialties, an American whiskey-driven list, and a rotating selection of bottled, carbonated cocktails.
We can also rely on the dynamic team of head bartender Kimberly Patton-Bragg, who's guided the current transition, and assistant barkeep Steve Yamada, fresh from a turn at Bar R'evolution (and who helped launch summer's all-bottled Alchemy Lounge party).
On a recent night at Hotel Modern, he was blending white whiskey and pear nectar, stung with housemade honey-thyme syrup. The honey adds depth and body to Koval's young, delicate wheat whiskey (gently charred), while the thyme adds a sweetly grassy element, and draws out the spirit's floral notes.
If it feels Asian-inspired, that's because this is the same drink Steve wrote and poured (as a highball) at this week's benefit for Chef Quan Tran, Tamarind's former chef de cuisine who was diagnosed with cancer.
The Hotel Modern bar is bottling Chef Tran's namesake cocktail, donating all proceeds from sales of The Quan Special ($10 each) to chef's medical fund.
Regardless of the restaurant's direction, the Hotel Modern bar will continue its bottled cocktail program, which speaks to this space's potential as an upscale locale where servers open the bottles tableside, pouring them into stemmed Nick and Nora glasses (to show off the carbonation), as well as a bustling neighborhood nook, where having a bottled drink at the ready "takes stress off the bar", Steve says.
Bar at the Hotel Modern, 936 St. Charles Avenue, 962.0900
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