The Land of the $15 Cocktail
When will the $15 drink die? Last night we stopped by to (belatedly) check out Apotheke (9 Doyers Street), the apothecary-themed cocktail bar/faux opium den-speakeasy. It opened in September but seems like a relic from that moment about three years ago when opening enormous restaurants like Del Posto and Morimoto was a big money-making proposition, and it seemed like there was no price too high for a fancy glass of booze.
I enjoy a well-made drink as much as the next person, and Apotheke's shtick is meticulously done--movie-set worthy antique glass vials, marble bar, bartenders in white lab coats--and pretty entertaining. But still, I think the time for a cocktail menu without prices is over, and moreover, a menu with little asterisks denoting that some cocktails are made with "reserve spirits" subject to a higher "market price" is even more over. Those regular drinks cost $15, (you will discover this when the bill, which looks like a prescription slip arrives) so I don't even want to know how much the "market priced" cocktails are.
If anything good comes out of the recession, surely it will be the death of overpriced cocktails, which are now so ubiquitous that I managed to pay $15 for a cocktail twice this weekend--the other time was for a Weather Up--cognac, amaretto, lemon juice-- at Weather Up (589 Vanderbilt, Brooklyn) in Prospect Heights. The Weather Up cocktail, at least, doesn't have any gimmicks going on, and features fancy liquor that tastes almost worth it--smooth and delicious, like the best sour ever made.