Hamlandia (noun): Where Baltimore relishes in the weird; the kitschy, eccentric home of Hons, hipsters and … really fricking good food and beverage.
That last part a more recent development in the storied history of North Baltimore's Hampden. There are endless reasons to heart Hampden (including that silent p), but in the past few years, its cocktail culture has really stepped up. And you can add in the new craft beer and pizza spot, Birroteca, and their homage to their own neighborhood, The Hamlandia Sour.
Birroteca — perfectly located off the beaten path along the Jones Falls — is a delightful combination of classic meets playful. Consider their name, a witty portmanteau of "beer" and "enoteca" (basically an Italian wine shop) that aptly describes their focus on regional brews and small-batch cocktails. Or consider the beautifully renovated old stone mill that houses the restaurant — original stone and wood interiors mix with whimsical chalk boarded walls and church pew seating.
The same is true for their small but impressive cocktail menu, a rotating collection of five to six seasonal, hand-crafted libations. Homemade, herbal and fresh squeezed, every cocktail is a bit of a twist on an old classic. The Hamlandia Sour, dreamt up by bartender Melissa Thompson. is a quirky marriage of two old favorites made new: the Whiskey Sour and the Amaretto Sour.
Don't let the double dose of sour scare you off. The Hamlandia Sour is surprisingly balanced due, I think, in large part to the absence of icky sour mix. Instead, the rich almond taste of Luxardo Amaretto mixed with egg white (often used for texture over flavor) is nicely tempered by the oaky flavor of Old Bardstown Rye. Fresh lemon juice and simple syrup brighten the drink and add a sweet citrus finish.
An allusion to sister oddball city Portland, Ore., and IFC's TV series, "Portlandia", the Hamlandia Sour is the perfect representation of Birroteca and the surrounding neighborhood. Assistant Manager Kathy Murphy attributes the drink's popularity to that very culture. "Our clientele is really varied and so our [food and drink] is meant to be enjoyed by any friend who walks through the door," she said. And our friends … are always looking for a fun twist on old classics."
In other words, the Hamlandia Sour is so different that it's … normal. In a very good way.
How to Make The Hamlandia Sour
2 parts Luxardo Amaretto
1 part Old Bardstown Rye
1 part fresh lemon juice
1 part egg white
1/2 part simple syrup
Shake vigorously without ice to fluff the egg white, then again over ice to chill the drink. Strain into a rocks glass over ice; garnish with a lemon twist/cherry.
Where to Get The Hamlandia Sour
1520 Clipper Mill Road, Hampden
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