Rubber Duckie Cocktails and Connect Four on Tremont
Photo credit: Larissa Burgess
When you think about it, the rubber duckie, that one-note yellow songbird of the childhood bathtub, was created for a singular purpose: to float. But nowhere is it written that said floating must occur primarily in one’s tub. Highball Lounge–Tremont Street’s new libation-fueled work decompression chamber that’s part rustic wet spot, part leather-booth’d vintage leisure lounge atop the Nine Zero Hotel–knows this. So their bar czars did what any logical person would do when aiming to create a watering hole for cocktail connoisseurs and serious-spirit newbies alike. Namely, throw one in your drink.
“It’s all about the experience,” says lead bartender Shahir Misif. “Good vibes. Good cocktails.”
The vibes come courtesy of an atmosphere that’s somewhere between Fort Point’s Drink, and Kenmore Square’s Hawthorne (and a lot of vintage barware), while the cocktails–presented on a menu viewable though novelty ViewFinders–combine the old with the new.
Observe the standouts below.
Zazarac: The traditional Sazerac, one of America’s oldest cocktails, is distinguished by its preparation in two Old Fashioned glasses, but Misif thinks the shuffle between the vessels wastes valuable drinking time. So to streamline the process, he spritzes a highball glass with an absinthe rinse before adding a spoonful of raw sugar and some Angostura bitters replacing the traditional Peychauds before adding Wild Turkey Rye, soda, ice cubes, and a cheery stir.
Rose Petal Fizz: Carralejo blanco tequila, house-made rose cordial, lemon, egg white, soda. Shaken with “a little magic” and garnished with a rosebud. The soda is nearly undetectable, just enough to create a thick head of foam and a creamy, sexy beverage.
Rubber Band Man: Cloves, anise, allspice, cinnamon, vanilla, and nutmeg have gilded and spiced the silver rum inside a decanter (which Misif is quick to proudly display). The elixir is combined with Pierre Fernand Cognac, Cardamaro, and Benedictine and stirred. Misif places a berg of ice in a wide-mouthed antique glass and then lays a long toothpick with two marinated cherries across it. The cocktail is poured over the cherries, washing a bit of the marinade into the glass before orange peel garnish is sliced off and set aflame. It’s a performance. And it’s delicious.
#DuckieRosé: A house-blended concoction of aromatic pink wine and vermouths. Asked to elaborate on the recipe, Misif responds, “A lot of grape-based stuff.” The flavor is smooth, sweet, and complex; a refreshing alternative for those folks whose go-to drink would be a fruity Riesling or buttery Chardonnay. But, the star of this beverage is the garnish: the aforementioned miniature rubber duckie.
Instagram gold, Jerry. Gold.