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A world far removed

“Hide my head I want to drown my sorrows, no tomorrow, no tomorrow.” — Tears for Fears, “Mad World”

For many, there is a legitimate sense of sorrow when contemplating the incoming Trump administration and the potential for harm; the heretofore unfathomable loss of hard fought civil rights and societal advancements. Understandably, drowning ones sorrows when dealing with loss is a legitimate response, and I’m not one to judge. I would suggest however, rather than crying in your beer, try finding solace in craft cocktails instead. After all, liquor is quicker.

“Butch” and I were reminiscing about the good old ACT UP days, when civil disobedience was not only patriotic, but a matter of life and death, and bemoaning the current state of affairs, ensconced in the comforting environs of Sycamore Den. Heartening because stepping through the door is like walking into a ’70s mountain lodge and a world far removed from contemporary worries. Swag lamps hang from the open beam ceiling. Wood and field stone covered walls surround a massive bronze fireplace, sunken conversation pit and roomy vinyl booths. Inoperative rifles are displayed, locked up in cages; so too, various stringed instruments – guitars, banjoes, fiddles and such – as if music was a dangerous thing.

Sycamore Den, recognized for crafting marvelous concoctions, offers an extensive selection of custom drinks. We decided to begin with “light” booze-based beverages before graduating to the “dark” varieties, so Butch selected the Crime of Passion and I chose the Can’t Hardly Wait ($10 each).

Butch said there’s nothing criminal about the tart, citrusy light-bodied blend of gin, fresh squeezed lemon juice, passionfruit puree, orgeat (a sweet syrup made with almonds, sugar and rose or orange flower water) and a parting peck of cayenne pepper. Stimulating. Can’t Hardly Wait, a silky mix of vodka, Galliano, lemon and orange juice, pure vanilla and egg white shaken with ice, is a delectable drinkable version of an Orange Creamsicle. Gratifying.

We then moved to the darker side of things and I asked for The Ticket ($10) while Butch got a Room with a Vieux ($11). The Ticket, their signature drink, is a tangy well-balanced explosion of oaky bourbon, peach liqueur and lemon juice with a dash of Angostura bitters. Seductive. The Vieux, a deep sophisticated blend of Rye, cognac, sherry, herbal Benedictine and a pinch of allspice, leans toward black licorice in the depths. Provocative.

“We’ll have to rally the troops again,” he said.

“I think you’re right,” I replied. “How does the chant go … off your ass and on your feet …”

“… out of the bars and into the streets,” he said.

By now our appetites had been whetted, and we inquired about snacks or appetizers. Seth, our laid-back but efficient tattooed bartender, explained Sycamore Den is strictly a cocktail bar and does not offer food service, but there is no objection to bringing along outside food. Which is not a problem considering the ever increasing number of eateries in the neighborhood. We paid our tab and went out in search of something to eat.

Sycamore Den features live music and a trivia night every week. Check their webpage for upcoming events. There is also a daily happy hour from 5-7 good for $8 specialty cocktails and $7 glasses of wine. Drink this, thirsty readers. You’ll be glad you did.

Sycamore Den

3391 Adams Ave.

Hours vary



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Posted by on Jan 19, 2017. Filed under Eat This!. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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