Hot Spots: A Winter Tour

Hot Spots: A Winter Tour

I’ve recently been on a quest to sample some of the best winter-themed drinks around the city. In the course of my travels, along with tasting some fine concoctions, I’ve also been ranking various takes on my personal cold weather go-to cocktail: the classic Manhattan.

My first stop was at longtime mid-town Charles Street stalwart Mick O’Shea’s, a snug, friendly, classic Irish pub with a boisterous air, particularly around the holidays.
Mick’s version offered the most generous pour, in a deep, sturdy traditional cocktail glass. The price: a reasonable $12—a good value.
Next up was a swing by the massive, social barroom at Mediterranean favorite La Cuchara.
Along with a very reasonably priced happy hour bar menu, their version of the Manhattan will set you back only $11 for their standard rail pour. Given their very extensive selection of bourbons and ryes, it’s worthwhile to pay a bit of a premium to upgrade your pour here.
Across the way, at Woodberry Kitchen, the selection of brown liquors is much more limited, given their insistence that all spirits (as most everything else in the place) bear a strictly local provenance.
I selected Sagamore Rye for my Manhattan. Served in an attractive, petite coupe glass, the serving was the smallest that I sampled, and the most expensive by far, at $21. (Another thing that left a bit of a bitter taste in my mouth: that small amount of mixed cocktail left in the shaker, which a bartender normally saves and then pours when you’ve taken a few sips and created room for it in the glass? This guy poured it down the drain.)
Woodberry Kitchen did garner points for their thoughtful offerings of seasonal concoctions: mulled wine, hot buttered rum, a triple-spirit eggnog, and a ginger toddy, which I’ll be writing more about in a future post.
My last stop on this jaunt was at Avenue Kitchen & Bar in Hampden. As on most Monday evenings, the jaunty combo of Django Jazz was providing background music with their distinctive strains of gypsy jazz.
The Manhattan is served in a sexy, curvy stemware glass, and depending on your choice of hooch, will run you $11-$12.
On their seasonal specials menu, the crisp apple mule and the Pappa’s hot orchard will warm you up nicely on a cold winter’s night. (More on those later, as well.)
Feeling a bit peckish, I ordered up the beef-fat smashed potato, topped with melted cheese, bacon crumbles and chives—yum!
{Mick O’Sheas, 328 N. Charles Street, Mt. Vernon}
{La Cuchara, 3600 Clipper Mill Road, Woodberry}
(Woodberry Kitchen, 2010 Clipper Park Road, Woodberry}
{Avenue Kitchen & Bar, 911 W. 36th Street, Hampden}

Brian Michael Lawrence

Brian Michael Lawrence is one of THE Baltimore style experts. After all, he was the longtime editor-in-chief at STYLE Magazine, which specialized in covering everything stylish around the Baltimore area. Brian also served as editorial director for the digital division at Sinclair Broadcasting, and creative director at Blue Sky Design. Currently, he oversees communications & marketing for the department of Tourism, Film & the Arts at Maryland’s Commerce Department.  In his bi-weekly column, you’ll get to see what cool hotspots are piquing the interest of this Baltimore style maven and why - whether it's the fabulous food, cool cocktails or elegant environs.