Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Spring Cocktails, Crab Toast, and More at OAK Long Bar + Kitchen at The Fairmont Copley Plaza (Boston, MA)

A month or so ago, I finally visited OAK Long Bar + Kitchen for a proper cocktail tasting. I often neglect hotel bars, but I've heard good things about this particular one so I decided to try it.
I was given a special sneak peek of their spring cocktails, which at the time didn't even have names yet! I was waiting until "spring" to post about them, and I think it's finally here, right?

I started with one that really invokes spring, a cocktail that's now been named Home Grown. It's made with Gunpowder Irish gin, English pea syrup, lemon, honey.

The vegetal notes of the pea worked really well with the botanicals in the gin. But don't worry, this refreshing drink is not overly vegetal, it was tempered nicely with the honey.

The restaurant manager Will Caines did a great job pairing up the cocktails with some bites from Oak's food menu. Will was previously a bartender at Doretta Taverna.
The first drink was served alongside Avocado and crab toast (peekytoe crab, burrata, pickled jalapeno, cilantro, $18)

The next drink we had was a spicy variation of the Naked and Famous cocktail from Death and Co, but made using Thai chili infused aperol and bell pepper infused mezcal.
This was another nicely balanced drink and an interesting variation on the classic - the Thai chili infusion added a nice heat without being too spicy, and the bell pepper added a bit of grassy notes but not overpowering.

Merguez lamb meatballs (Tunisian tomato sauce, gremolata, $15)
Oak Long Bar

On top of the spring cocktails, we also tried a couple of their signature favorites. Bartender Matt Garofalo made us the Smoked Chai Manhattan, consisting of chai rum, Knob Creek rye, and Benedictine.

The cocktail is poured over smoked from the burnt wood. I could taste the chai spices in the cocktail, which was smooth and perfectly balanced. This was a great cocktail and certainly deserved to be one of their signature drinks, even if it's a bit pricey at $24. I may be biased because I love chai so much, but I would definitely order this again.

The Chai Manhattan was nicely paired with the confit pork belly with farro, wild mushrooms, and sherry vinaigrette ($14)
Oak Long Bar
I loved the tender pork belly with the earthy mushrooms.

For dessert, we had some blackberry and raspberry ginger syrup, gin, lime, Cointreau paired with some blackberry sorbet.
Oak Long Bar
This one is a sweeter cocktail, but it still has some complexity to it.

Now, I normally don't order dessert-y drinks like espresso martini, but Matt promised us that they make a particularly good one using cold brew coffee, so we tried some. The verdict? Really glad we tried some. It had just the right amount of sweetness.

We had it with the S'mores (chocolate mousse, Graham crackers, Whistlepig fluff)
Oak Long Bar

There were also other drinks they were still playing around with. Matt asked if we like Thai Tea (duh, of course we do) and proceeded to make a cocktail with Cold brew Thai iced tea, amaro, 1/2 oz Goslings rum, sugar, evaporated milk.
OK, I did earlier say I don't normally order dessert-y cocktail, but I lied. I would drink this all day. It was sweet but not too rich or heavy and I can really taste the Thai tea.

I must say I was very impressed with the cocktails at Oak Long Bar + Kitchen. They've gone above and beyond standard hotel bar programs (or even above-average hotel bars). While the crowd may vary depending on hotel guests and what else is going on in the area, I would say this is perhaps the best bar to drink at in Back Bay.

Oak Long Bar + Kitchen
Fairmont Copley Plaza
138 Saint James Avenue
Boston, MA 02116
(617) 585-7222
Oak Long Bar + Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


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