Bar Exam

Curio satisfies cocktail thrill-seekers

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Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I’m not what one would call a “cocktail guy.”

On most nights of the week I’d much rather reach for a glass of Oregon Pinot Noir or a crisp White Rajah IPA over any liquor-based libation. Even so, I profess my newfound appreciation for the soaring heights that mixology can reach when in the right hands.

Like many successful establishments, Curio had the good sense to open in the right place at the right time.

Riding the wave of artisan-cocktail fever that’s struck so many urban-dwelling hipsters and their ever-nostalgic Baby Boomer counterparts on the East Coast, Curio’s Speakeasy ambience and meticulously crafted classic cocktails has, along with the likes of Mouton and Cameron Mitchell’s Pearl, brought that very same culture of this labor-intensive craft to the Midwest.

Curio, 495 S. Fourth St. in German Village, is adjacent to the north of the delicious Harvest Pizzeria. Both share a patio and ownership team.

Adorned with a stylish but understated C drawn on its door, Curio gracefully embodies the neo-Speakeasy aesthetic, but is disarming with its knowledgeable and unpretentious staff.

Though Curio’s cocktail list couldn’t be accurately described as inexpensive, paying $10 for a drink doesn’t seem excessive. The designer drinks are $9 to $12 (happy hour prices offer a greater value on some featured drinks.)

But remember, it’s about quality not quantity. And of the mind-bending array of complex drinks that I tried over my two visits, my favorite had to be the wondrously named, Mezcal Vida based “These Boots Are Made for Oaxacan,” which confounded my senses as it was, all at once, refreshing, perplexing, inviting and utterly enjoyable – well worth the $11 price tag.

Of course, cocktails aren't everyone’s thing, and Curio buffers this with a well-manicured wine and beer list. That being said, Curio’s website probably sums it up best: “We also have a nice wine and beer list, but you should probably have a cocktail.”

Yes, you should.

 

Jeb Bernert is an associate at Gentile’s, the Wine Sellers – www.gentiles.com.

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