Best Drink Menu - 2009
Taste by Niche
"Is peach OK?" asks Ted Kilgore, mixologist extraordinaire at Taste by Niche. The woman who has ordered the "Nectar of the Gods" — tequila, agave, lime and seasonal fruit (the peach) — nods. Kilgore takes half a peach from a bowl on the bar directly in front of the patron and oh-so-carefully slices it into thin wedges. He puts the wedges into a cocktail shaker, which he shakes so violently that you can feel your seat vibrate. Kilgore's classy old-school cocktails gained him quite a following at Monarch. At Taste, not only can you enjoy his latest inventions, but in its tiny confines you have no choice but to appreciate every small detail: how carefully he slices that peach, how he slaps a branch of mint in his hand before using it as a garnish to make it stand up straight, the carefully labeled ingredients. ("These are Peruvian bitters," he imparts.) The drinks are fantastic, whether your tastes run to the tropical (the "São Paulo Sage," with cachaça, lime, sage and pineapple) or the decadent (the "Smoked Chocolate Flip," with bacon-infused bourbon, port, crème de cacao and a raw egg white). Those who want a truly special experience should order Kilgore's "Gem of a Punch," served in an actual glass bowl. Perfect for a group. But if you want it all for yourself, call a cab.