It took Rickhouse winning “Best High Volume Cocktail Bar” at this summer's Tales of the Cocktail to remind us that we hadn't been to the bar in about a year. With a handful of key players from the crew gone, most notably opening bar manager Erick Castro, we were curious to find out how the bar had evolved. More importantly, was Rickhouse still the cocktail powerhouse it was when it opened?
After a High-Plains Drifter ($8, rye whiskey, sweet vermouth, Amaro Nonino, celery bitters), we were pretty sure. By the time we finished talking to bar manager Joe Alessandroni, who guided us to our next drink, the Dutch Honey ($9, Bols Genever, yellow chartreuse, honey), we knew the acclaim was deserved. With a packed bar, Joe took our meager description of the drink we wanted (juicy, but not citrusy), and banged out the perfect cocktail.
“We spend a lot of time thinking about what people should drink so they don't have to,” said Alessandroni. “Our massive selection of spirits on the wall and lengthy cocktail menu can be intimidating and drive someone to just order a vodka soda rather then risking embarrassment or condescension.” Alessandroni and his crew like to guide unsure patrons with a series of questions to narrow down and select the best options pulled from their menu perfect for you. They're like the cocktail matchmakers.