Photo by Chris Casella

The Anti-Cocktail

Combine locally-distilled gin, St. Germain, fresh-squeezed lemon juice, egg whites, and Cointreau in a cocktail shaker. Shake without ice for one minute, then add ice and shake for two minutes. Strain into a powdered sugar-rimmed martini glass (NOT a margarita glass), top with club soda, and garnish with fresh mint for a modern twist on a classic aperitif that you’ve never heard of!

Sheesh, just when did drinking get so complicated? As with any hobby, there are many levels of intricacy when it comes to the art of mixology, but it’s become increasingly clear that there is a bar-based push-back against the concept of complicated craft cocktails, leaving room for an emerging philosophy on drinking in our city: the everyperson’s cocktail. No frills, no pretension; just simple, dynamic drinks that are enjoyable and interesting. Here are a few of the exemplary bars in Columbus that have kick started the rise of the anti-craft cocktail:

Oddfellows

1038 N High Street

Oddfellows’ repertoire includes a host of breakfast cereal-based cocktails sure to stir up your childhood nostalgia, even if there’s a significantly adult component to them.

Although the cereal cocktails look exactly like the dregs of your breakfast bowl, down to the soggy cereal flakes and syrupy-sweet flavored milk, they taste like the bowl of cereal you might pour yourself the morning after a rough breakup. From the Pebbles & Bam Bam (Fruity Pebbles, Loopy vodka, and almond milk) to the Powdered Toastman (Fireball, butterscotch Schnapps, Licor 43, almond milk, and Cinnamon Toast Crunch), Oddfellows’ offbeat concoctions highlight what brunch is really all about: getting schnockered on a Sunday afternoon without feeling guilty.

Ethyl & Tank

19 E 13th Avenue

Cocktails with an average of four ingredients per drink, discounted pricing on refills, and wine that retails for less than $10 per bottle? Ethyl & Tank’s got the art of humility down pat. Not only are their drink specials refreshing and affordable, they’re also cleverly themed. The Goro, for instance, offers a grown-up version of a root beer float, with Bacardi Oakheart, vanilla vodka, root beer Schnapps, and Coke. In other words, it’s a delicious, dessert-y way to satisfy your sweet tooth and unapologetically add the one thing that was missing from a root beer float all along: liquor, the one thing that prevented root beer floats from being completely perfect. But if the Goro doesn’t tickle your fancy, Ethyl & Tank also offers a host of other video game-themed inebriates that are sure to satisfy both the child and the adult in you.

Barrel on High

1120 N High Street

Classics never go out of style: tuxedos, martinis, and anything else with which James Bond has ever been associated, especially. But even the classics need a modern adaptation to stay relevant, which is why Barrel On High’s drink menu stands out as an accessible alternative to the elaborate concoctions of which many millennials are so fond. Barrel offers a list of “old school” classics juxtaposed against a backdrop of their own personal takes on many of the great pillars of drinking. Their Dirty Habit, for instance, is a modern stance on the outdated Bond-era martini. Consisting of spicy pepper-infused vodka, olive juice, pepperoncini, and an olive garnish, the Dirty Habit exemplifies everything we all want in a drink that we’d otherwise be too self-conscious to order on our own.

Melt

840 N High St. & 4206 Worth Ave (easton)

At Melt Bar & Grilled, the Big Boy isn’t a chain of hamburger joints with a creepy oversized man in checkered overalls for a mascot. It’s the answer to all the questions you never knew you wanted to ask, such as “what should I have before entering a drunken spelling bee?” and “what will I drink now that 4Loko no longer has caffeine?” Featuring Bulleit, Kahlua, Licor 43, fresh brewed coffee, and topped with whipped cream and chocolate syrup, the Big Boy is a delicious, energizing drink designed explicitly for those nights (or afternoons) where you’re not sure exactly where you’re going, but you know you’re going to have fun on the way.

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Travis Hoewischer

I've been working in journalism in central Ohio for more than a decade, and have been lucky enough to be a part of (614) Magazine since the very first issue. Proud to live in a city that still cares – and still reads.

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