Adrian Ross-Boon, head bartender at Wit and Wisdom in Harbor East, won't make you a drink —he will build you one.
The bar and restaurant, located on the ground floor of the new Four Seasons hotel, adheres to the sage-like philosophy of layering flavors to ensure a distinct, high-quality taste experience.
At the bar, Ross-Boon and company take the technical aspect of serving drinks to a whole new level. "We make classic cocktails the way they should be done: fresh juices daily, we make our own syrups, bitters, and infusions ... we even use cold draft ice cubes so that your drink never waters down," said Ross-Boon. Add to that some meticulous craftsmanship. While I was there, Ross-Boon, whose most recent bartending stint was at the Four Seasons in Scottsdale, Ariz., layered each part of my drink using a miniature measuring cup, then hand-stirred the liquids for several minutes. Finally, not only did he slice a sliver of fresh orange peel for garnish, he squeezed its juices directly into my drink. Bam.
The result? The Sticky Wicket, an extremely approachable take on the Old Fashioned, typically known for its hard-hitting sweet bite. this version transforms the Old Fashioned into a smoky, mellow cocktail. Jim Beam bourbon is layered with soda water and homemade smoked maple syrup. A heavy dash of barrel-aged bitters complement the tannic taste. Then comes the Fernet Branca (a variant of the Italian herbal liqueur) arguably the key ingredient. The Fernet, a bittersweet amaro, balances the woody ingredients, providing a clearer, cleaner bourbon flavor. Juices from that aforementioned orange peel are squeezed for a final hint of freshness.
Not typically a bourbon drinker? Me either. But go ahead, order this cool, ultra-smooth cocktail and enjoy the old-school bar artistry.
You'll be making a very wise move.
How to Make the Sticky Wicket
1/2 oz. Fever-Tree soda water
1/2 oz. Smoked Maple Syrup
1/4 oz. Fernet Branca
4 dashes barrel-aged bitters
2 oz. Jim Beam bourbon or your choice
Pour all ingredients on the rocks in a lowball glass, stir. Squeeze orange peel over drink, then garnish.
Where to Get the Sticky Wicket
200 International Drive, Harbor East
$10Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun