My favorite place to go for cocktails is Mercato on the Ithaca Commons. They have the most innovative cocktail menu in town, offering exotic amaro flights and a wide array of specialty cocktails. It's a great place to go for a late afternoon drink, and the bartenders are extremely knowledgeable and eager to pour samples for interested consumers like myself. I went with a friend, and we had a great time picking Bartender Gary's brain about all different kinds of liquor. Our cocktails were all delicious and beautiful- instead of rocks, many of their cocktails are served on the rock, singular- a single ice cube that fills much of the glass.
|Served on the rock.|
My favorite was the Gem, a whiskey cocktail composed of Woodford Reserve Bourbon, Barenjager, and lemon juice. I had never heard of Barenjager, so Gary gave me a sample and told me about the honey liqueur. The cocktail was very well-balanced and tasty, remarkable because many bars shy away from whiskey cocktails because of the strong taste of whiskey as opposed to the more easily disguised vodka or gin.
|The Gem and the Ithaca 37|
The beer list is nearly non-existent, and the wine list sorely lacking in local options, but the cocktail offerings more than make up for those shortcomings. And though this is not the focus of this blog, the food is excellent as well, though on the pricier side.