I’m still drunk from my visit to Drink, the minimal brick-walled basement bar and latest addition to Barbara Lynch’s No. 9 Park empire. But this is a different kind of intoxication—I’m lit on Drink’s concept and simply cannot stop thinking about its cocktails. Lynch, along with No. 9 Park bartender/mixologist (or whatever you’re supposed to call them) John Gertsen, has created a bar experience that puts the drink-maker in the spotlight and in control.
Drink is a concentrated study on the art of cocktail making, and the sparse industrial space is the perfect backdrop for the mixology show being swizzled, shaken, muddled, and poured by Gertsen and his team. There are no liquor bottles in plain view, no drink menu, and patrons are expected to order drinks by expressing their preferred liquor, flavor, mood, and/or quantity (they’ll whip up a pitcher or punch bowl for bigger parties)—a process that’s a bit confusing and intimidating at first, but then becomes fun and exciting.
And while the cocktail crafters take themselves a bit too seriously at times, any silly pretentiousness immediately evaporates with the sip of your first drink. Their version of the Dark and Stormy is my new favorite (served on the rocks, it’s house made ginger beer mixed with an esoteric Indian rum, called Old Monk) and a gin-spiked Bee’s Knees (served up in a Martini glass) is a dreamy mix of floral, sweet, and tart flavors (thanks to an herb-infused honey syrup and fresh lemon juice). The attention to detail that goes into each drink is phenomenal, from the house-made bitters (applied with an eye dropper) to the ice, of which there are numerous styles (including crushed, perfect cubes, and massive hand-hewn chunks chiseled from a 50-pound block). ).
For food, Lynch offers a small list of 1950s-style cocktail party hors d’oeuvres—Swedish meatballs, mini wieners, crudités, deviled eggs, chips and dip—all done up with modern, chef-y flare, of course. And although the food is well-executed and tasty, the kitchen doesn’t quite offer what the bar does: a pleasant buzz that’ll last you for days.
Drink 348 Congress St., Boston (617-695-1806; drinkfortpoint.com)