When you spend enough time going to bars, talking to bartenders, and trying their drinks, you start to develop a mental list of people to keep an eye on. Having seen Chris Lane behind the bar at Flora, Heaven's Dog, Tradition, and Wo Hing, there was little doubt the low-key, gracious, and talented barman could run a great show. So when I heard that Chris Lane had taken over the bar at Lolinda from Lane Ford, the Argentine-style grill from the team behind Delarosa and Beretta, I had to hurry in.
The menu is still transitioning in, but most of the new cocktails go live this week. With the demand for cocktails with dinner unexpectedly high, Chris Lane decided to make some tweaks. There is a definite shift to less spirit-driven, lighter options, and recipes that streamline the process to decrease wait times. He is launching with five original cocktails, keeping the classics, and planning on adding a rotating drink that showcases a recipe from other bartenders.
All five of the originals are solid, like the Lone Palm ($10, house spiced rum, lime, grapefruit, honey, bitters) that is an ode to the Mission bar, the fall spiced Rock n Rolla ($10, bourbon, apple, lemon, maple, allspice, bitters, nutmeg), and a drink I wish I could finish every meal with, The Devil's Backbone ($10, rye whiskey, Lagavulin scotch whisky, Averna amaro, Gran Classico, Angostura bitters, Orange bitters, orange peel), that really needed a big chair and a fireplace.
But the one drink that I just could have easily enjoyed all night was The Oaxacan Cross ($10, mezcal, ruby port, lime, pineapple, ginger, maraschino, orange peel), which was juicy yet a fascinating mix of ingredients. The mezcal and maraschino playing a culinary bout of capoeira, the Brazilian dance-like martial art, stepping in with a little smoke here, a kick of herbaceousness there, all riding a rhythm.
Inspired by Charles H. Baker's "The Gentlemen's Companion" travelogue, Chris Lane created the drink by nudging the ingredients of two drinks together. "The Oaxacan Cross is a basically a mash up between an El Morocco (cognac, pineapple, port, lime, curaçao, grenadine) and a Diablo (tequila, lime, ginger, cassis)," explained Chris Lane. The drink requires a little bit of bartending and a little bit of DJing, but it's all thumping groove in a glass.
The Oaxacan Cross
2 oz. Mezcal (Chris recommends San Juan Del Rio)
¾ oz. Pineapple juice
½ oz. Lemon juice
½ oz. Ruby port
½ oz. Luxardo maraschino
¼ oz. Ginger solution*
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a Collins glass with fresh ice. Garnish with orange peel.
*Ginger solution: blend one-part simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water) with two parts ginger, strain.
Lolinda, 2518 Mission (at 21st), 550-6970