Hollywood: Exploring Littlefork’s Cocktail List
Littlefork, I suspect is named after the little fork you get when you encounter a bowl of shellfish. It is perhaps one of my favorite utensils being a seafood lover. The food has been described as New England inspired and I suspect that is partially true. Then you see touches of… Canadian. Smoked meats. Poutine. It’s more than your average lobster roll shack. Though they do serve a good one here.
There are a few good bars in Hollywood. Actually, there are a few great ones. But more in Downtown are known for their craft cocktails. Littlefork changes the dynamic of that immediately in their pocket of Hollywood.
I love the bar with its wide counters. It’s a bar you could eat at and wouldn’t feel like your dishes are crowding into the person next to you. But it’s almost too pretty to eat at. And actually, I like the dining room. Plus they have a lovely patio I’d like to sit out at one day with brunch.
Back to the bar, I’ve tasted almost every cocktail on the menu. And also had a good sampling of the food. That being the case, I’ve decided to concentrate on two posts. First, I’m going to delve into the drinks and then post about the food later. I didn’t mean for it to be this way. The menu looked deceptively easy to navigate. But when you want to try it all, the number of drinks and food can be a bit overwhelming. And I want to give you my picks easily.
Bar Manager Dino Balocchi comes from the famed Michelin-starred Longman & Eagle whiskey bar and gastropub in Chicago. I love that place so I figure I’d love Dino’s drinks. And I do. I look forward to properly sitting down at his bar and riff on cocktails. For now, let’s navigate this cocktail list.
On my first night at littlefork, I tasted the Georgetown Swizzle (dark rum, Jamaican rum, Bitter Truth EXR amaro, lime, demerara, mint) and promised I’d get one of my own the next time I visited. I love swizzles. So boozy yet refreshing.
One of my favorite drinks is the 19th Century Sour (bourbon, pinot noir, lemon, demerara, egg white, bitters). I could have a couple of these in a row and still want more. Sherry, beer and champagne cocktails aren’t unheard of yet wine in my drink? What’s that about? I actually thought the Pinot gave the cocktail a nice edge on what would have been a fairly standard whiskey sour (with the richer demerara).
James and York (rum, port, lime, pineapple, Chesapeake and Creole bitters, molasses) turned out to be a fairly light and clean cocktail despite the rum and port. I expected it to be a tad boozier but the pineapple showed up immediately in the cocktail. Get this if you like fruitier drinks.
The littlefork Gin and Tonic is hardly a standard gin and tonic. This is made with gin, Bonal, lime, ginger, and housemade tonic. This would be a good drink to open up your appetite.
My first time at littlefork, I went for the Saskatchewan Summer as my first cocktail. Before I even took a sip, I kept referring to it as the “Sash.” Think rye, Fernet, cardamon, honey, Forbidden bitters. It’s basically a great Old Fashioned twist so I ended up calling it the Sash Fash. Perhaps that’s a tongue twister you don’t need when the drink is already called the Saskatchewan Summer.
The Maestro (wheated bourbon, Averna, cinnamon, clove, Angostura bitters) is a nice Manhattan style drink. And exactly the kind of drink I like. I’d probably start with this next time and end up with the 19th Century Sour, following my old man drinks first then sours and fizzes last tradition.
As mentioned, bar manager Dino comes from Chicago. His old restaurant Longman and Eagle is located in Logan Square. It’s a fun area with cute shops and restaurants. I wonder how do you encompass the creative vibe in a cocktail? Well, besides naming it Logan Square, you start off with gin, Benedictine, Carpano Antica sweet vermouth, chocolate, mint and Angostura bitters. Woah, chocolate and mint? In a non-creamy cocktail? How interesting! The hint of chocolate and mint enhanced by the rich Carpano Antica which then slings into an even richer Benedictine. Ah, very nice. If I didn’t get persuaded into getting the whoopie pie and doughnuts, this would be my dessert cocktail.
On my second visit, the bartender made sure I liked Cynar before I ordered the Kentucky Daisy (rye, Cynar, rosemary, mint, lemon, barrel-aged bitters). After I assured her I did, she happily served me this tall drink. It was perfect since it gave me time to look around and wait for my pals at the bar.
Another favorite is the El Perdido (tequila, Chartreuse, Cocchi Americano, lime, strawberry chile bitters). I really liked this pale pink drink with food. It helped cut some of the more rich food I was having. My friend got this some other time with mezcal. That’s when I learned the strawberry had been pre-mixed into the tequila. Our bartender did a deft job with adding just a bit more of the strawberry bitters to give it more of that berry flavor.
The only drinks I have not tried are the Bald Jack and the Thai Town Mule.
When I was at the bar, I watched someone ask for the “weakest” or “lightest” drink on the list. The bartender said she should try the Bald Jack. That didn’t really make me want to try it but I did wonder because the Bald Jack is bourbon, Campari, Cocchi Americano, lemon and spiced pomegranate. That sounded really nice actually. I probably would have recommended she try Gin and Tonic or the 19th Century Sour.
Or actually, maybe Thai Town Mule with gin, lime, Thai basil, peppercorn, house ginger beer would have been good as well as a “light” recommendation. I suppose when I think of light, I think of one spirit and one mixer. Or water. But I digress.
I have to wonder what that person was looking for. With five whiskey, 3 gin, 1 tequila and 2 rum cocktails, this list is rather expansive for a whiskey lover. From a general point of view, it couldn’t have hurt to put one vodka cocktail on there making it an even dozen. Then again, it seems like vodka has taken a beating from craft cocktail lists.
Good thing I’m a whiskey lover.
© The Minty 2013