Even with our surfeit of digital gadgets in the age of “right now,” there’s a longing for a bygone era when life, love and booze were a little more leisurely. The “slow drink” movement has transformed the squirt gun-and-speed rail rum-and-Coke into the pickled-Rainier-cherry, cardamom-infused-rum and Coke smash.
“There’s a longing to reconnect with the past and the way things used to be. People want to experience something old-school that’s been made new again.” says Tyler Brassil, chef and owner of the Pharmacy, a speakeasy-style bar (hidden behind his dinner-party-style prix-fixe restaurant, the Table). Quality of spirits and house-made bitters, jams, tonics and garnishes are paramount here, and there’s certainly an audience for it. Gene Zimmerman, owner of downtown Orlando’s Courtesy Bar, says he sources the best herbs, spices and ingredients around town and collaborates with chef Kevin Fonzo of K Restaurant to concoct imaginative mixers (like cherry-tarragon soda) and garnishes (like smoked manzanilla olives).
The Courtesy (114 N. Orange Ave., 407-450-2041; thecourtesybar.com)
The Woods (49 Orange Ave., 407-203-1114; thewoodsorlando.com)
Pharmacy (8060 Via Dellagio Way, 407-985-2972; thepharmacyorlando.com)
Hanson’s Shoe Repair (3 E. Pine St., 407-476-9446 for password and reservation)
Hooch (25 Wall St., 407- 849-0471; wallstplaza.net)