The Science Behind Cocktails June 07 2015
by Mariana Palacios Vega
New York City offers so many bars and late night spots that it can be hard to keep track of them. But every now and then you discover a truly unique space, where you least expect it; one that truly stands out and asks to be revisited.
We found such a place behind a black door in the middle of a small street in Chinatown (9 Doyer St.) that will enchant you from the moment you arrive. Here at APOTHÉKE, Heather Tierney, with her wide experience in the culinary world, and her brother Christopher Tierney, who specializes in design, have joined their expertise to create a “speakeasy.”
The word “speakeasy” comes from the Prohibition Era, when alcohol was banned and you could only drink in hidden bars. APOTHÉKE emulates this style, and takes it name from the german word, that translates in English to Pharmacy, a perfect fit for the philosophy and ambience of bar that aims to go undetected. Inspired by 19th century apothecaries in Europe, the bar recreates the experience of mixing a potion, an elixir, a well crafted mix of unique ingredients, as an pharmacist would have done centuries ago. Each drink at APOTHÉKE is made by expert mixologists who prepare “the prescription,” as they call their drinks, according the tastes of the clientele. Needless to say the Bar is the protagonist of the show, it's back shelves are full of antique medicine bottles from around the world and the carrara marble bar is fully equipped for the performance of each drink preparation.
From the moment you order you are in for a treat, a spectacle that ends with the pouring of your drink, which falls perfectly in a glass specially selected for each recipe. In this chemistry lab every ingredient is kept in laboratory crystal glasses or cases and each mixologist wears a lab coat. One of the factors that makes this unique laboratory a success is their firm belief in their lema “Farm-to-Bar”; each of the ingredients come from organic green markets and their own rooftop herb garden. So when you approach the bar and look at the “prescription list” rest assured you will be getting a high quality, carefully crafted beverage. The ambiance is welcoming and soothing, the patterned wallpaper, the dark red sofas and the designer lamps take you back a to the 19ths and offers you a place to relax, listen to good music and dance if you feel like it. Although each detail of this bar is carefully thought out, this is not a pretentious place. Here you can lay back and discover the art of mixology, as well as enjoying a great night out.
But this is not all, APOTHÉKE offers live music (jazz sessions) every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday. Monday you can enjoy the melodic Cole Ramstad from 10:00 pm to 12:00 am and DJ Devon Johnson raps up until the club closes. Tuesdays be delighted by High & Mighty Brass Band and New Orleans inspired cocktails and absinthe, from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am. Wednesdays chill to the music of Broadway Brassy and the Brass Knuckles accompanied by live Burlesque performances from 9:00 pm to midnight. Finally end the week with some live footage from 10:30 pm to 2:30 am. For Wednesday you need a secret password to get in, but I will let you into a little secret, you can get it by contacting the bar via social media or their web page.
Also on tap, is the “Apotheke Academy”, a hands-on mixology class, after which you can get the mixology Kit, which come with everything you need to recreate the experience in the comfort of your home. You can choose from a variety of courses; the “Market Fresh Mixology” offered Saturdays at 2:00 pm and costs $125; the “Prohibition Era”, classes are offered also on Saturdays at the same hour and at the same price; or the “Absinthe Minded” experience and coming soon the “Agave Master” course.
To top it all off these experts mixologists can curate your bars for off premise events, offering custom cocktails. These service have been solicited by brands like Prada, Phillip Lim, Milk Studio among others.
To wrap it all up I will tell you, from my personal experience, that everything that you have read lives up to the expectations, the cocktails are original and delicious, I had “La Dolce Vita”, a vodka based cocktail, which was refreshing and perfectly balanced. But read well before you order, some of the prescriptions are spicy and surprising, so if you are not sure on what to order ask your mixologist, he will guide you.