Over in Franklinton things are going just swimmingly for Land Grant Brewing Co., now in its second year of operation, so it seems fitting that they would release the second addition to their (life) aquatic themed Sea-Grant series, Jacqueline Deep Search Baltic Porter. Available on both co2 and Nitro taps at the taproom, and in beautifully designed cans paying tribute to oceanographer Steve Zissou’s revenge mission to find the elusive Jaguar Shark that ate his partner, it’s the perfect drink to cap off months of cold weather. Deep Search is inky black in the glass with caramel and bready malt flavors and a crisp finish that lingers just long enough without overstaying it’s welcome. If you find yourself in need of another after plunging to the dark depths of the ocean floor, make sure to check out the Stevesy Helles Lager, the first in the Sea-Grant series, to help guiwde you back to the surface.
If you prefer cocktails over beer, and shows about nothing over Wes Anderson films, you’re going to want to head over to Harvest in Clintonville, where Bar Manager Josh Gandee has created a menu based on the original show about nothing, Seinfeld. A picture-perfect parody of a Seinfeld DVD box set, the menu, which includes “Featured Episodes” (Original, seasonal cocktails), “Extra Shots” (Small shot form offerings), and “DVD Extras” (House Cocktails), gets the details right, down to the original Seinfeld font. For something on the boozy and stirred end of the spectrum, the Lost in New York is a perfect mix of Rittenhouse 100 rye, Armagnac, Cocchi Torino vermouth, Cynar, and sherry, served over a large cube, and garnished with a griotte cherry. The Arrival, which falls somewhere between a chocolate malt milkshake, and a chai latte, but with just enough boozy heat to remind you that you’re sitting at the bar, is a combination of Watershed Nocino, bourbon, rum, and allspice with cream and egg supplying the soft foamy texture.
On the other side of the city, Harvest’s sister bar Curio is currently featuring two different flights of spirits that you may want to spend some time getting to know. For $17, you can choose between a flight of three rare (to Ohio) Japanese whiskeys; the Nikka Coffey Grain, the Nikka Taketsuru 12 year, and the Hibiki Harmony, or three Mezcal expressions from Mezcal Vago; Espadin, Elote, or En Barro. Japanese whiskey, is at an all-time high in popularity, and is earning top honors, including one example beating out Scotland for the title of World’s Best Whiskey in the 2015 Whiskey Bible. Mezcal, depending on how you look at it, is either the rambunctious younger brother to tequila, with it’s bold brash flavors of smoke and vegetal green agave, or the refined, older and wiser brother, with it’s subtle sweetness, earthiness, and the sense of place it invokes in it’s more pronounced terroir. Either way, you should be drinking it, and a flight from Curio is a good place to start.
Last but certainly not least in this roundup, we have another pop culture reference from Brian Maxwell over at the relatively new Bottle Shop, where you can find a fantastic cocktail bar, and a wine and beer carryout coexisting splendidly in the former Viking Mart on King Avenue. Stop in at the bar and enjoy an old movie on the projector while you sip on the Rhum Ham, a clear and delicious reference to It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Maxwell begins by brûléeing brown sugar and pineapple on a cedar plank, and then muddling the fruit and sugar with pork bouillon, lemon juice, and Rhum JM. The entire mixture is shaken and strained into a coupe and garnished with a pineapple leaf and an orange peel studded with cloves. Yep, It sounds weird. Yep, it tastes amazing. But would you expect anything less from a drink named after a fictional delicacy created by Frank Reynolds? •