I found myself in Baltimore recently, staying in the Inner Harbor. I only had two nights in town, the first of which I spent eating crab cakes and drinking a local specialty, the Baltimore Crush. This left me with only one night for a proper cocktail.
I came across Bookmakers Cocktail Club online and billing itself as a “cocktail and supper club”, I needed no more research and headed right over to Federal Hill. Walking in on that Monday night, the crowd was relatively sparse and the bar seemed vast as a result. I immediately noticed the velvet couches and velvet walls, as well as an overstocked bar divided into arched “caves” stocked full of booze, mostly whiskey, of which there are 400 varieties on hand.
I walked up to the bar and pulled up a seat. To the sounds of A Tribe Called Quest and The Fugees, I scoped out the menu and the bar, noticing a few other peculiarities, namely that they had chartreuse on tap, primarily used for chartreuse hot chocolate – a delicacy I would have to try another time. I ordered the Asian Pear Old Fashioned, hoping to not get too adventurous while still trying something new.
The drink arrived in a lowball on a giant rock, full of whiskey, ginger, pear, and allspice, topped with a nutmeg zest on the rim. I took a sip and was surprised as it was much smokier than expected. The pear gave it a lightness, and it wasn’t really sweet. Frankly the drink didn’t differ from a traditional Old Fashioned and I was let down in that regard. But, and Old Fashioned is named that for a reason and the drink was delightfully tasty and went down like a charm.
I continued to enjoy my drink to the sound of mellow late-90s beats with my fellow Monday night revelers. Bookmakers Cocktail Club is turning out quality cocktails in an perfectly set environment, with an impressive selection and the utmost attention to detail. Baltimore, the bar has been set.
Bookmakers Cocktail Club
31 E. Cross Street