Met up with some friends who live right near The Whistler and all I can say is that I'm jealous they live so nearby.
First impressions: since I'd heard and read so much about it, I somehow expected it would be much larger. It's a relatively small space. I was immediately thrilled by how many of my 'old friends' I saw up on the shelves of this fine establishment -- a truly great selection of spirits. Live music, acoustic guitar played by Leroy Bach, was sensational.
The cocktails were superb; quality-wise, certainly in the same realm as Bar DeVille and The Violet Hour. Not only did our bartender, Paul, have a deep knowledge and firm command of the classics, he also mixed up several house creations from a seasonal menu, which changes about every 6 weeks. Of the 8 drinks offered on this menu, 7 of them looked very tempting to me and the one, that didn't -- The Fleming -- turned out to be quite delicious. It contains Scotch, of which I am not a huge fan. My wife ordered it and the tastes I had were great. It's comprised of White Horse Scotch, Sloe Gin, Honey, Lemon, Absinthe and fresh rosemary. It's served on the rocks (perfect cubes) in a highball and the fresh sprig of rosemary is rubbed briskly between the bartender's palms and placed vertically in the glass. Nice.
I started out with a Boulevardier, which is made with Rittenhouse 100 Rye, Carpano Antica and Campari. Served in a rocks glass on one massive 'rock,' this was also a fantastic combination. The aromatic vanilla notes in the CA gave an entire new face to the Campari, and the bold and spicy Rye mingled with both of them quite well. The Voyager was also stellar. It's made with El Dorado 5-year rum, Benedictine, falernum and fresh lime; served chilled/up. This riff on the daiquiri was really appealing. The judicious use of the Benedictine added a subtle but noticeable and pleasant wrinkle. The Last Straw, another delicious drink we tried, is a play on The Last Word and incorporates an egg white, which added a fantastic creaminess. Here, the gin is Broker's and it's amped up to about double the amounts of the Chartreuse, maraschino and lemon. A delicate and fragrant fennel frond sits atop the highball glass in which the drink is served. A Martinez, which contained Carpano Antica (in lieu of a more traditional sweet vermouth) and a Luxardo cherry, was arguably the best I'd ever had. We also had a few other 'bartender's choice' drinks that were excellently prepared. The Elk's Own, which, by request, contained bourbon, was satisfying and complex. Orange Blossom and a few others (forgot the details, the mind blurs) were also wonderful.
At about 8, when we departed, the place was still mellow but filling up nicely. I kind of wish we could have stayed but a boy eventually has to eat, right?
I'm definitely thrilled to have finally tried The Whistler and am very much looking forward to returning there soon.
If I asked my customers what they wanted, they would have said faster horses --Henry Ford
Without wood, barbecue wouldn’t be barbecue -- Aaron Franklin
Freedom demands that those in power allow others to think for themselves.
I just wanna live until I gotta die. I know I ain't perfect but God knows I try --Todd Snider