I love when someone opens a restaurant or bar with a theme and they commit 100 percent. Alchemy is such a place. Set in the 1920s, they only serve prohibition-era alcohol (gin, tequila, rum, scotch, whiskey) and mixers, with lovely touches such as handcrafted maraschino cherries and thoughtful garnishes.
You have to make a reservation, and wait in the Midtown Filling Station for someone to escort you through the secret entrance. (Fun!)
Our server/mixologist Phillip greeted us with an apéritif of fresh watermelon and lime juice (with alcohol I’m sure, but I didn’t catch the name). Very refreshing and different, and a great way to start the evening.
The menu contains drinks from the 1920s such as the Side Car and Champagne Punch, as well as originals from the mixologists on staff. For our first round, we went safe, choosing items from the menu that seemed close to familiar modern drinks. Even though I normally do not like gin, our server/mixologist Phillip convinced me to try it. I ordered the “Bee’s Knees” containing gin, honey and lemon. My friends ordered the Mary Pickford (sweet, but not too sweet, with tequila, Grenadine, pineapple juice and maraschino cherries) and the Pimm’s Ginger (I’m not a big fan of Pimm’s, but my friend liked it).
After thanking Philip for making me try the gin, I asked what I should try next. He said “Can I just make you something?” (My absolute favorite response from a bartender/mixologist.) My response: “Yes!”
In the meantime, my friend ordered a Pisco Sour (Pisco is a Peruvian/Chilean alcohol from the twenties) and also includes lime (or lemon) juice, syrup, ice, egg white, and Angostura bitters. This was a really interesting drink. The egg white creates a rich foam on top, but it is actually very refreshing and herbal as a whole.
My mystery drink arrived in a rounded martini glass, and was amazing. Very light and lemony, with a little orange kick. Called the Corpse Reviver #2, it was the highlight of the night. The cocktail contains gin, Lillet Blanc, lemon, sugar and the glass had a quick rinse of absinthe. Very fancy and very dangerously yummy.
For the last Surprise Me! drink of the night, I received a champagne flute filled with a drink called the French 75. This beverage contained gin, Champagne, lemon juice, and sugar. Wonderful, and not too bubbly.
Alchemy is a great new addition to the Midtown area. It definitely caters to the professional, non-student crowd, and is a welcome addition for those wanting to try something different from your regular bar scene. You need a reservation, but once you get there, there is no rush to leave. You can follow Alchemy on Twitter at @alchemymidtown or find them on Facebook.