Thirsty? Try a specialty mixed drink from Bin 707
I did a stint as a bartender.
The fluidity of motions and the mental dexterity used to remember dozens of orders and ingredients made the job quite interesting.
I was just out of college, in a bad economy and couldn’t get a newspaper to give me a second look. To give you an idea of the time frame, the Virginia restaurant where I worked was known for their frozen daiquiris. Think 1980s.
I found, and still do, people’s drink choices fascinating, with obvious hints of generations and eras.
The genteel older women and men might order an old fashioned or a green stinger. And the 20-somethings were trying tequila sunrises and Singapore slings.
So, when Bin 707 owner Josh Niernberg opened his spot downtown with fresh takes on historic drinks, I knew I wanted to try his concoctions as soon as I could find a volunteer to drive our group.
Bin 707 serves 10 original cocktails made with premium — and in some cases local — alcohol and mixers. The fruit juices are fresh-squeezed and syrups are made in house.
Our server impressed us right away with her knowledge, explaining that mescal has a smoky taste because of the method of agave production. And she steered us to the drink that ended up being everybody’s favorite.
The six mixes we tried were:
The Pink Dove, inspired by the Paloma, with 30/30 blanco tequila, mescal, pink grapefruit juice and prickly pear soda, was a great blend of smoky, sweet and tart tastes
The Ernest Hemingway, named after the mint daiquiris the writer favored while in Cuba, was concocted with white rum, lime, cucumber, mint, bitters, cane sugar and soda. This drink radiates summer, the cucumber and mint adding a bouquet of green, fresh essence.
The 707, a.k.a. the cosmopolitan, was quite true to the original but enhanced by the elderberry liqueur and cranberry syrup.
Jalisco’s Finest, named after the center of agave tequila culture, Jalisco, Mexico, was a smooth mix of El Tesoro tequila, fresh lime juice and agave nectar.
The Original, a twist on the old fashioned, was created with Sazarac rye, blackberry, lemon, sugar, bitters and a basil leaf. A serious cocktail in a short glass that makes one sip and appreciate.
The drink I was least inclined to order ended up being the hands-down favorite, The Fiery Engineer, is made with Jackelope gin or Goat vodka, fresh OJ, agave nectar and serrano peppers. I don’t know how the pepper was integrated into this drink, but it works. Like fire and ice, my sister-in-law said.
Bin 707 has taken the craze for speakeasies and Prohibition bathtub gin recipes and expanded it across multiple eras and regions. From the old fashioned, dating to the early 1800s to the 1950s era Margarita, named after a Dallas socialite vacationing in Acapulco. And they created the menu without a single martini.
If you’d rather stick to beer, Bin 707 has assembled an interesting and unusual line-up. First you have some of the better microbrews: Anderson Valley, Estrella Damm and Great Divide Hoss. On the other side are some crazy regional blue-collar brews, such as Utica Club, Dixie and Schoenling crème ale. If only they could get Yuengling.
Next week, the food of Bin 707.
QUOTE: “Beer is not a good cocktail party drink, especially in a home where you don’t know where the bathroom is.”
— Billy Carter, brother of former president Jimmy Carter
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Send tips and ideas to tess.furey@ gjsentinel.com.