Middle Branch - Hope in Fratville
I caught up with one of the lovely ladies (Lauren F) I met at Stern during my first year. She had an incredibly intense internship in investment banking this past summer. We wanted to catch up and celebrate her full-time offer over cocktails. I suggested a speakeasy near her apartment that I had not visited: Middle Branch (no website). The exterior of the spot is incredibly reclusive. If I didn't have the street number, I would have walked right by. This is clearly on purpose and part of the appeal - you're only going to come in if you're in the "know" vs. well-known spots such as Joshua Tree (ughhh).
I found the service very personalized when I walked down the front stairs and the doorman kept repeating "Liz? Liz? Liz?". Once I could understand what he was saying, I said "Yes. Yes. Yes". I didn't realize Lauren got there before me. I figured he may have just been a psychic on the side.
When I entered the venue, I went upstairs. The space is a bit small. Once we reviewed the cocktail menu, I ordered a traditional daiquiri and Lauren got a Moscow Mule.
I loved that the cocktails were served on cloth napkins. It added a certain level of sophistication vs. a coaster or a paper napkin. The drink was nice and refreshing but a tad too sour. It can't compare to those made at Diageo with Zacapa!
After I noticed that the woman next to me ordered it, I had to get the Queen's Park Swizzle (above). It is made with rum, mint, lime simple syrup and bitters swizzled and served with a metal straw (so fancy!). I'm sometimes on the fence about mint, but I loved it in this drink. It wasn't too "minty" (as mojitos sometimes are), it was just the right amount.