The recent renovation of the Lord Baltimore Hotel has given downtown Baltimore a pretty nifty example of what a hotel bar can be.
The LB Tavern's cocktail list is a crafty nod to the hotel's glory days. The star concoction is the Diamond Back, a semi-famous cocktail that was invented in, and named for, the hotel's old cocktail lounge.
Then there are offerings that sound like they're classic cocktails but aren't. One of them, the Lady Baltimore, was created by the hotel's staff for a gala event last year at the Maryland Historical Society that celebrated the installation of "Lady Baltimore," a statue that had been relocated from its home atop the Battle Monument to the museum for safekeeping. (The statue has been replaced on the monument with a replica.)
A potent mix of gin, St. Germain, fresh grapefruit and lemon juices and Lillet, the cocktail is a corker.
Served in a long-stemmed cocktail glass, this Lady Baltimore has an intoxicating golden glow. And the garnish, an elegantly long grapefruit peel and a section of fresh grapefruit, lend it a refreshing aroma.
The Lady Baltimore has been a hit at LB Tavern, according to Walter Arias, one of the managers at the historic property, because it appeals to drinkers who aren't particularly fond of either gin or grapefruit. I get that. Like any good cocktail, the Lady Baltimore is not so much about the individual ingredients as it is the finished product, which I found very satisfying.
Lillet, a French aperitif that was one of the signature ingredients in Jazz Age cocktails, is back in fashion, and it does good work in the Lady Baltimore, helping to balance out the other ingredients. But I wasn't particularly aware of either its presence or of the St. Germain, an elderflower liqueur that is all the rage in craft cocktails.
There's something swell about a hotel bar. I like the idea of meeting friends there for an after-work — or late-night — cocktail. And I'm all for the Lady Baltimore.
How to make the Lady Baltimore
2 oz. Edinburgh gin
1 oz. white Lillet
1 oz. St. Germain
Dash of fresh lemon juice
Dash of fresh grapefruit juice
Dash of bitters
Pour all ingredients into mixing glass with ice cubes Shake well. Strain into the chilled martini glass. Squeeze oil from grapefruit peel onto the drink and moisten the rim of the glass. Garnish with grapefruit peel.
Where to get the Lady Baltimore
Lord Baltimore Hotel
20 W. Baltimore St., downtown