Klaus, the Soused Gnome from the Fabulous Beekman Boys fame traveled in my kit bag all the way to New Orleans.
In fact, he is resting after his night at CURE last night. Cure, I believe is the best cocktail bar in America.
That may be a large statement, but it's one that I'm prepared to stand behind.
After all, Klaus is a German Drinking Gnome. He dates back to the 1930's, so- I'm sure he's been in a couple of fine establishments over the decades.
Last night my friend Bill York and his wife Laurel escorted Klaus and myself to Cure.
Bill York is the owner of Bitter End Bitters. I'm rather fond of his products- I will go on to say that Bill makes the best bitters in America. They are distinctive, bold, robust and deeply passionate flavor aumentations.
Sure, I've written about many of Bill's peers. Some are sweet, some savory- some have changed my mind about bitters- still others are passionate in their own unique ways. But as far as I'm concerned, no one is doing it quite like Bill.
Which begs the question. What does it mean to be the very best. Is it a list of 1-10? Or 1-100? I'm not sure. All that I do know is that Bitter End has a person behind the brand.
And that is my friend Bill York.
Cure, located west of the historic Garden District in New Orleans is one such place that has also "caught" my attention. Is it the attention to detail? The fabulous selection of liquors? Is it the friendly bar-staff?
Funny you should say. My friend Ryan- I met him at PKNY last year in NYC was there, propped behind the bar, broadly smiling.
Klaus, the German drinking gnome was scooped up from my table by Neal Bodenheimer, the effusive and generous owner and introduced around the room.
And that's when the fun began.
Cure is the cure for what ails you.
With drinks such as the Thousand Blue Eyes- Noilly Pratt, Tanqueray Gin, Orange Flower Water, Bitterman's Boston Bitters and Lemon, or the Hardest Walk- Carpano, Plantation Overproof Rum, and Bitters, or perhaps the aptly named Floridian Void- a salubrious combination of Ferreira White Port, Yellow Chartreuse, Trader Nick's Feret Falernum, Lime, Honey and Angostura Bitters, Cure sets the bar ever higher for the desire not only to get pleasantly tipsy, but also to drink liquid history.
I'm not only interested in cocktails, but I'm interested in people. I believe that Neal chooses his employees for their smiles and their charm. They are not pretentious. The people he hires are talented and soft spoken. They know how to craft and they understand humility.
Klaus was in very good hands at CURE.
If you are in New Orleans, get yourself as far away from the French Quarter as possible. It has become a parody of drunken behavior. But if you are like myself and crave a carefully made cocktail and you know that difference between a fine Ramos Gin Fizz and a milkshake. Make yourself known to the friendly and careful barkeeps at CURE.
Tell them that I sent you- and that you are friends with Klaus.
The picture in the headline was taken with my Leica M8 at the House Spirits Pop-up bar on Royal Street during Tales of the Cocktail.