The modern cocktail movement is defined by fresh ingredients, small-batch mixers and precisely balanced flavors rather than reckless potency. But our interest in well-crafted cocktails is simply a return to the way drinks used to be, says the team at vintage whiskey bar Hayride Scandal.
Their latest project, the Parlour, was unveiled in December. It’s a side room that goes back in time even further than the main bar’s pre-war setting. Bedecked in Belle Epoque style, it’s a lush spot serving drinks with roots in the mid- to late-19th century.
“We’re all about finding the historic relevance of cocktails anyway, so this room was a chance to go deeper,” says operating partner Lance Paddock.
The Parlour includes a separate bar menu with drinks that sound familiar but aren’t explained. There’s a martini, but it’s only referred to as a “fitty-fitty.” There are a couple of sours, a collins, a fizz and a flip. And there’s a “whiskey cocktail,” parenthetically referenced as The Old Fashioned.
“We didn’t include descriptions on purpose,” says general manager and bartender Brea Frederick. “That way, it invites conversation.”
A basic primer for patrons includes the difference between a flip and a sour—two classics of the American cocktail heyday from around 1850 to 1910. A flip blends a spirit and an entire egg in a shaker. The bartender removes the coil from a Hawthorne strainer and places it in the shaker to better emulsify the egg. It’s double shaken, meaning ice is added after an initial shake, then strained and served up like a martini. The Parlour’s sours, on the other hand, only add an egg white.
Another key offering is punch, but not the kind you remember from college parties. Classic punch is a mainstay of the Victorian-era, when drinks were often made in batches rather than mixed one by one. The Parlour’s punch is a nuanced concoction of whisky, brandy, citrus and bitters ladled into elegant copper cups with a grating of fresh nutmeg. Warm and cozy, it’s perfect for sipping amid the gilded decor.
Speaking of which: Paddock worked with designer Sharae Hand to achieve the sexy, overboard look of upper crust, turn-of-the-century America and Europe.
One of Paddock’s partners, Remi DeMatteo, found a vintage hotel bar in New Orleans and had it reassembled on site. They deliberately passed on adding taps behind it, instead relying only on old-school mixing and serving. The barware is all copper; the stemware, trim and elegant. Creamy silk draperies define one seating space, while much of the room is set off by wallpaper with romantic, baby-pink flowers on a black background.
The Parlour is open Thursday to Saturday and is also available for private party rentals. In March, Hayride Scandal also began offering a menu of snacks, available Tuesday to Saturday, including chicken pâté deviled eggs, fig and goat cheese toast, spiced nuts and boozy cakes. hayridescandal.com
This article was originally published in the May 2019 issue of 225 Magazine.