Atlanta Bar Scene: The Best Cocktails at Staplehouse

From the beginning, Staplehouse beverage director, Stephen James, and bartenders Shyretha Bolton and Ben Richardson agreed that the restaurant’s drink menu would be collaborative and filled with classic cocktails to pair with the cuisine prepared by Staplehouse exec chef Ryan Smith and his culinary team . James wanted the cozy, eight-seat bar to become part of the neighborhood’s thriving cocktail scene, allowing imbibers a chance to enjoy classically-inspired tipples while giving back to the restaurant’s nonprofit sister, The Giving Kitchen, which provides emergency assistance grants to individuals within the restaurant industry who face unexpected hardship.

As Staplehouse and The Giving Kitchen prepare for its yearly fundraiser, Team HIDI, taking place Jan. 31 at the Georgia Railroad Freight Depot , James provided a glimpse into the restaurant’s budding cocktail program by highlighting their best sellers.

The Ivey League

Created by bartender, Ben Richardson, for his friend Gregg Ivey, who passed away shortly before the opening of Staplehouse, The Ivey League is not only a combination of two old friends – the Manhattan and the Old Fashioned – but also an ode to drinking buddies and enduring friendship. “Whiskey is always a great way to begin a cocktail; we use Rittenhouse Rye. But what makes this personal is the lavender-honey syrup Ben created,” James said. The syrup complements the herbaceous nature of Italian amaro CioCiaro while toning down its bittersweet side. Look also for this cocktail among the libations offered at Team HIDI.

20th Century

This 1937 gin cocktail is named for the train that ran from Manhattan to Chicago. The 20th Century is a breathtaking example of the fresh beauty behind the bar program’s classic interpretations. “We enjoy using classic cocktails on the menu to expose guests to our favorites from the past. The 20th Century is a gin-based cocktail (we prefer Hayman's London Dry) with creme de cacao and Cocchi Americano,” James explained. The traditionally used light and citrusy aperitif, Lillet Blanc, is replaced by the crisp brightness of Cocchi Americano. Served up in a coupe glass, the cool aroma blossoms at the nose before sipping with a hint of chocolate from the cacao at the finish.

Oaxaca Flacka Flame

“The Oaxaca Flacka Flame (wah-HA-kah) is a great example of the playfulness of our cocktail program--a wintertime tiki drink, using one of our favorite base spirits, mezcal,” James said. Created by bartender Shyretha Bolton, the cocktail’s name started off as a “joke that stuck.” The drink is anything but that, cleverly combining smoky mezcal with the subtle grains of the Caribbean-inspired orgeat syrup, Tippleman’s Island Orxata, the bitter saccharine of aperol, a few bitters and fresh citrus. This cocktail is like an island oasis.

Staplehouse, 541 Edgewood Ave. SE, Atlanta. 404-524-5005, 

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