The seat of Lucy Brennan’s diminutive but influential cocktail empire is perched on a slight rise on N Russell St, hemmed in by the tumult of freight trains rumbling through the Union Pacific yard below and semis plying the elevated Interstate roaring above. Despite its industrial surroundings, the lofty warehouse ceiling and the exposed brick walls that frame the interior, the atmosphere here is surprisingly intimate. A serpentine bar angles patrons toward one another, facilitating conversation, and the sunken lounge, hidden behind an enormous curtain, feels like an ultramod living room with furniture that’s way too easy to sink into.
It may, however, take newcomers a while to familiarize themselves with Brennan’s lengthy drink menu, which offers an ever-evolving mix of over 40 distinctive cocktails. Brennan’s trademark drink, a frothy, blended avocado daiquiri, showcases her ingenuity; the rich, creamy avocado purée balances the traditional daiquiri’s sweetness, while a float of pomegranate purée adds a welcome tang. But the drink’s true strength lies in its ability to elicit the flavor sensations of the best rum cocktails: deep and buttery, with just a hint of sweet and tart.
More recently, Brennan’s been filling her shaker with wine—rice wine, the essential ingredient in the faddish realm of saketinis. Take the Dragon Milk—a mix of Sake One, muddled coconut, lemon-lime juice and half & half—in which the citrus notes of sake are enhanced by the utter beachiness of the coconut; together, the flavors conspire to fool the imbiber into tasting other tropical notes such as banana and pineapple. One sip attests that creative mixology can transcend mere artifice—and stands as proof that alcohol—infused ignorance can indeed be bliss.