Libations: A drink for a bartender
MythbusterContrary to the rumor going around town, you don’t need a reservation to go downstairs and enjoy all Bad Harriet has to offer. Really, all you have to do to go inside is “just stop by,” said Jessie Kneitel, the manager at Bad Harriet. While the speakeasy does take reservations, which can be helpful for when town is insanely busy, reservations aren’t mandatory. “We want to share the space with the town,” she said.
“The drink is a spicy, bitter, bitter, sweet, thick, bitter, refreshing kind of conglomeration of things,” says bartender Justin McDuffie as he starts to craft the Macy Valentine, one of the many cocktails on the menu at Bad Harriet named after “trailblazing women of the century.”
Bad Harriet is the Hotel Jerome’s newest home for libations and late-night fun. Located in the basement of the former Aspen Times building, which is only fitting since it’s no secret that many journalists love a good drink or two, it’s named after Harriet Wheeler, the wife of the Hotel Jerome’s original owner, Jerome B. Wheeler.
At Bad Harriet, you trade bar nuts for passed hors d’oeuvres (which come around every 20 minutes) as the bar’s creators have “fabricated this minxish, 19th-century persona for this socialite (Bad Harriet), and this is her cocktail party,” McDuffie says about the 1920s speakeasy vibes of Bad Harriet.
Open from 6 p.m. to late, Bad Harriet naturally lends itself to being an after-dinner spot, which is where having the Macy Valentine on the menu comes in hand.
“It’s bitter but balanced,” says bar manager Jessie Kneitel. “We recommend it to a lot of people who come in after dinner and they’re like, ‘I’m so full,’ cause it is a nice digestive.”
The “wild card” of this drink is the house-made sage soda.
“I basically harvested a bunch of sage hiking this summer and made a tea out of it … and I just put some agave and some gelatin in there and a little rosemary,” McDuffie says of his sage soda creation.
This “soda,” which adds lightness to a drink otherwise filled with winter flavors, is the finishing touch that creates a foam on the top so the imbiber gets a nice whiff of sage with every sip.
The cocktail — which McDuffie, who has 15 years of bartending experience, says is “a classic bartender cocktail” — also is recommended for those who crave shots of amaro after work … we’re looking at you, restaurant industry workers.
“Jessie and I are always saying this is a drink for a bartender, for sure.”
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