Best Bar Program - 2013
Tongue & Cheek
At most restaurants, the chef is in the back working on ambitious or classic flavor profiles for his food, leaving the bar manager to use the same recipes and possibly make a signature drink or two. Rarely does the chef leave his domain to venture out behind the bar and create a "chef-driven" cocktail program. But that's exactly what Tongue & Cheek's chef/partner Jamie DeRosa has done. Instead of hiring a beverage director, DeRosa created a collection of whimsical and classic cocktails for his restaurant. From the Bourbon for Apples, made with Buffalo Trace, green apples, and fresh thyme (with little red ice "apples" floating in the drink, $14), to the Walking Dead, a potent mixture of Death's Door gin and fresh muddled strawberries ($14), each cocktail was created to be appealing to the palate and eye. If you're looking for some razzle-dazzle (and an instant buzz), try the blackberry molecular margarita. For $22, you get a show, complete with smoky liquid nitrogen and strange glassware, that you can drink. Containing four ounces of Milagro Silver tequila, this is one potent potable that could do double duty as a dessert sorbet/nightcap or just an über-refreshing drink after the beach. Bonus: Get to the bar between 5 and 7 p.m. any day, and cocktails (except the molecular) are only $8. Good drinks, good deal.