The wizards behind Alchemy Lounge (who let me preview their mad mixology skills at a Prohibition party) will launch their first public speakeasy on June 20. The cocktail list is soda shop-inspired, says Steve Yamada, co-founder of Alchemy Lounge and a bartender at Bar R'evolution.
"We were fascinated by carbonated cocktails, and wanted to express them in a way that would be easily approachable and fun," says Steve of the night's adult sodas, three of which will come pre-bottled, handed to you with a straw.
Steve will craft an orange soda, while Alchemy Lounge co-founder Sam Kane (of Victory Bar) mixes up bottles of grape, and guest bartender Chris Hannah (Arnaud's) pre-batches a boozy cola. Rounding out the talent will be Geoffrey Wilson of Loa Bar, who will make, to order, a variation of the Root Beer Fizz (adding egg white to mimic a float's ice cream).
Besides a base spirit and water, each long drink might include housemade syrup or other sweetener, citrus or grape juice, bitters or even a garnish. The guys will mix the components, charge them with CO2, then funnel them (for evenly bubbly pours) into six-ounce bottles, and chill.
Boozy carbonated drinks are on trend (and flirt with molecular mixology, some argue), but on this night I think it's also a nod to the historical play between bars and soda shops. During Prohibition, bartenders found jobs tending soda fountains, bringing with them jiggers and bar spoons; once liquor became legal again, soda shops influenced the rise of sweeter cocktails.
And really, all you need is a summer in New Orleans to appreciate refreshing cocktails that contain no ice, so they remain potent and approachable.
Alchemy Lounge will pop up at 219 N. Peters Street on June 20. Doors open at 6 p.m. The à la carte menu will include sliders and fries; RSVP here.
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