Apotheke, New York
The alchemy of shaking, stirring and mixing a good cocktail isn't as simple as the simple syrup often used in them. Pedestrian vodka sodas aside. Indeed, the craftsmanship of the cocktail, and the establishments where one can enjoy them, is reaching dizzying new, sophisticated heights. Apotheke in New York City is a stellar example.
Inspired by Europe's classic champagne bars, opera houses and the absinthe dens of Belle Epoque Paris, Apotheke is a cocktail experience that flirts fetchingly with all the senses. Every detail has been meticulously chosen to create a historic feel synchronized with its concept, and alluded to in its name – the apothecary.
The lounge is anchored visually by the soft glow of 30 foot marble bar framed by a hand-carved back bar stocked with imported old apothecary bottles and beekers reminiscent of a chemical laboratory. Some hold infusions and absinthe-marinated botanicals while others are filled with mysterious dark liquids, unopened for centuries. Light fixtures subtly accent the dark bar as do comfortable couches and seating befitting of the old-world ambience.
At Apotheke the design and presentation of the cocktail is transcended to an artform by the renowned master of the culinary cocktail, Albert Trummer. Last seen tending bar in Culver City, California's culinary jewel, Fraiche, Trummer's recognized multidisciplinary mastery of the art mixes the wizadry of pyrotechnics with the earthy wisdom of an herbalist and the show stopping spectacle of an entertainer.
The self-proclaimed “apotheker” offers a staggering 250 house cocktails, over 500 bottles of different liquors and several other infusions and elixirs. The cocktail list is divided into nine separate categories, including Stress Relievers, Aphrodisiacs and Euphoric Enhancers. Signature drinks include the Opium Uplifter, Five Points and House Absinthe – made by Trummer himself – all served in unique Austrian crystal glassware.
If Trummer's bar is his stage, and the cocktails his characters, then Apotheke is a theater and New York City's historic Chinatown its theater district. The drama plays out in a former opium den and Chinese opera house located on an elbow-shaped street once known as the Bloody Angle because of Chinese gang wars at the turn of the 20th century.
With Apotheke Trummer and brother and sister co-owning team Heather and Christopher Tierney have successfully elevated the bar of the bar business a notch or three. Apotheke celebrates the cocktail with distinction, harkening back to its pharmaceutical past while alluding to its culinary future.