Buenos Diaz, faithful readers! For those of you newcomers, bienvenidos! Have a seat and stay awhile. Take in the sights, soak up the sarcasm, chuckle a bit and perhaps even learn a little somethin'. Today's lesson is simple: when in Boston, drink. But don't just drink, Drink. 

Instinctively, you read "drink" and "Boston," and your mind likely wanders to that delightful brew of hops, malt, yeast and H2O first concocted and introduced to the world by one Mr. Jim Koch in 1985. That cold, refreshing Sam Adams lager and it's many varieties are indeed most pleasing to the palate and should by all means be experienced (especially since the tour of the Jamaica Plain brewery is $Free.99, is led by a comedic beer-lover and includes tastings of the snazzy stuff), but 'tis not what I refer to here. The juxtaposition of "drink" and "Boston" might even conjure up visions of a tall glass of Guinness or some variety of bold Irish whiskey as being in the confines of Boston seems to bring out everyone's drunk inner Irishman. Wrong again! What I'm talking about is Drink. It's not just an instruction or your favorite passtime, my people. It's a friggin' place.

- screenshot of Drink's website: www.drinkfortpoint.com

As their website states, Drink is:

"A bar entirely dedicated to the craft of the cocktail, Drink blends time-honored techniques and the classic cocktails of the prohibition era with modern innovation and the very best artisanal ingredients... Our goal is simple: To provide a welcoming spot at which to enjoy a memorable cocktail, some great conversation, and sustenance. Cheers!"

Cheers indeed. Drink was named the Best Cocktail Bar in America in 2011 and Best Cocktail Bar in the World in 2013 at Tales of the Cocktail's Spirited Awards. 

My dear friends the Negretes introduced me to Drink on the second night of my visit to Boston. I stepped out of the cab on Congress expecting to see some flashy sign, or hell- a sign in general- but Drink truly pays homage to the prohibition era with its understated modern-day version of a speakeasy entrance. It's one of those "you have to know it's there" sort of joints where you descend a random flight of steps and look for a dude with a clipboard taking names; it's not however so hidden that you'll never find it and you need not know a password to enter. If you see the sign below (sans the reflection of my ring-covered fingers and creme-colored coat) at the base of the steps, you're in the right place.

Fancy, right?

Señor Clipboard (who is apparently the GM!) permits you to enter only when there is room for you. This often means you're chillin' on those steps for a hot minute, but not egregiously so. The wait is well worth it when you're allowed in the door as you're pleasantly surprised to discover you're not in some overpacked club full of people either twerking, tweaking or taking too many shots. You need not scream your drink at a bartender whose ability to correctly fulfill your order is dependent on his or her supersonic hearing and/or ability to read lips. You need not push or shove anyone to get to the bar but rather casually saunter to an open seat. The decor includes exposed brick, wooden beams and overhead pipes. The lighting is thoughtfully dim but not deceptively dark; the music pulses pleasantly but allows for comfortable conversation. In short: it's the grown and sexy way to achieve dignified inebriation and on something more artfully crafted than an Adios Motherf*cker. 

Drink offers a simple but decadent menu of tasty foodstuffs to complement the libations served therein. Small Bites include Japanese street corn and ice cream sammies while the Big Bites menu features everything from grilled cheese and a jar of pickles to sirloin carpaccio and the most amazing thick cut french fries. Seriously, those fries... they're served with a malt vinegar aioli and quite literally just made my mouth water; they are starchy, salty perfection. Get them, get them now. Then there's the burger, the secret-but-not-really-secret selection not found on the printed menu. You have to know about it, be told about it, or just be inquisitive enough to inquire when you see a sign like the one below (yes, only a limited number of these are served nightly). If you're a hardcore or even occasional carnivore, the burger is five notches up from sliced bread and one notch short of Jesus. 

Delightful, n'est-ce pas?

Enough about food, let's talk booze. It doesn't seem appropriate to call the individuals you find here "bartenders," the word just doesn't do them justice. "Bartender" make me think of some bicep-happy dude or bustier-clad chick hurriedly throwing together a rum and coke or pouring out a Miller lite (you know the type; not universal by any means, but definitely the norm in a lot of nightlife). Some would call the folks at Drink mixologists, but if you ask me: they're straight chemists. They've traded beakers and Erlenmeyer flasks for shakers and martini glasses, but trust me- there is some serious science happening within those walls. You may scoff, but you won't once you watch someone make you a drink that involves singed fruit, pink salt and little droppers of liquid that for all I know contain sodium bicarbonate and hydrochloric acid. 

You will not find a drink menu as there isn't one. If you have a cocktail in mind, lay it on your chemist (I'm going with it). If you don't, splendid! Someone will pick a poison for you based on your given flavor profile. These chemists aren't adept at this alcoholic brouhaha by chance, either; as I understand it, Drink keeps it real O.G. when selecting who gets the privilege of getting you tipsy and adopts an apprenticeship approach in its hiring. Each of the lead bartenders is paired wih a barback who must apprentice for at least a year before earning the title of bartender themselves. Cocktails are their craft and you get to consume it, and in a pleasant atmosphere no less. 

Chemistry class.

On the occasion in which I found myself at Drink, I sat in a section tended to by chemists Ezra and Sebastian. At first, I admit I was unsure about Ezra. There is an air of mystery about this fair, thin-framed woman with an almost elfin quality in her bone structure and facial features that makes you want to know more about her- and I'm not alone here (L. Negrete and J. Vidaurrazaga, lookin' at you). I am the consummate Chatty Cathy and curious cat rolled into one, so I immediately attempted to make conversation with her in between the rounds of science-in-a-glass she pushed in my direction ("How long have you been bartending? Where are you from? What does that tattoo on your forearm mean?) She revealed where she's from but otherwise gave evasive and ambiguous answers (to my tattoo inquiry- "I don't know, one day it just showed up there"). Her replies were seemingly curt and disintersted, but I'm persistent and she makes a mean Bohemian (who knew elderflower liqueur, gin and grapefruit could be so delectable?). 

I quickly learned that my initial analysis of Ezra (who buy the way is the bar manager) was cursory and ill advised. She's reserved, yes. She's also incredibly talented. She throws herself into her work and it's amazing to behold. She may not say much, but there's an art to her method when she starts tossing and chopping and mixing and pouring like the bottles, knives, glasses and other barware are extensions of her own extremities. She may appear dry, and perhaps at times she is! If you look closely though, you'll catch the slight upturning of her mouth on one side, a sneaky little smile that betrays her otherwise cool façade. Don't let her fool you, she likes what she does. She may not chat you up but she will keep pouring. So I say, pour away lady. And thank you. 

Ezra plus grapefruit.

Chemist #2 Sebastian is pint-sized fun. This super cute five-foot-something character originally hails from Colombia. He bartended there for a few years before bringing his South American flare to Drink where he apprenticed under Ezra, and get this- he's the ripe old age of twenty one. If you're like me, you're thinking "Twenty one?! What the hell do you know about craft cocktails at twenty one?" Pssh, plenty. While the rest of us may have been knocking down Jose Cuervo, Kamchatka and jungle juice out of red cups when we were his age, this guy knows his stuff. The combination of his tenure abroad and tutelage under Ezra have served him well as his craft is finely honed. He didn't miss a beat while tending to us that evening, serving us a variety of tasty and potent potions pleasing to both the eye and palate while also engaging in a bit of levity.

The aforementioned levity.

As for the actual drink... For my first round, I kept it simple and asked for something that was both spicy and sweet. I was served a tequila based beverage with cassis, ginger and lime, I believe it was called an El Diablo. It's a bit of a taste bud awakening- your tongue is hit with both bitter and citric notes that cut through the initial sweetness of the drink; the last thing you taste is a smokiness that's unexpected but pleasant. I then had a Bohemian, the gin/elderflower/grapefruit combo I mentioned earlier which was recommended to me by my BFF Leandra. Easily a new favorite! I've historically loathed gin with a fervor, but this just works. The grapefruit is the perfect sweet and sour balance to accompany the floral injection of the St. Germaine. It's served with finely crushed ice and tastes as elegant as it looks. Order this, please. Do it for me. 

Double Diablos (and Victor and I)

Bohemian on the left, El Diablo on the right

Then my pal Victor decided to be that guy and aimed to challenge our chemists' creativity: he asked for something that tastes delicious but looks obnoxious. He got this: hollowed out grapefruit with singed edges dipped in pink salt filled with I don't even know what, perched most unceremoniously atop a basic glass as seen below. 

Check out the guy behind Vic giving him the "This guy..." face.

Then Vito asked asked for something "even more obnoxious." So this happened:

Yup--- a porcelain blender.

Aaand then this happened. 

The drink went in that weird monkey, not to be confused with Sebastian.

By the end of the night with warmth in our cheeks and smiles on our faces, we were all singing the praises of this dynamic duo. So much so that Leandra found crayons (?!? I came back from the ladies room and they were just there) and drew Sebas a picture. 

Who knew Crayola had a bar presence?

Apparently gin makes my Lulu artistic. 

We finally left Drink shortly after the masterpiece above was fashioned (but not before half of our foursome sang the first verse and chorus of "Under the Sea" to dear Sebas). I knew even as I floated back to Beacon Hill that I'd want to blog about this place- excellent food, excellent cocktails, excellent service, and above all: crayons. 


Because you clearly MUST go: 

348 Congress St, Boston, MA 02210
Open nightly from 4pm-1am

To purchase your very own  "Team Ezra" tshirt, please contact Leandra Negrete at... Just kidding :) 

I Think I'll Go to Boston

As I mentioned towards the end of my last entry, I boarded a plane the day after my birthday en route to Boston. Two of my best friends Leandra and Victor moved out there a couple of years ago, and shortly thereafter I made my first trip to Beantown. I fell in love with the city, to put it mildly. There's just a certain je ne sais quois about it- the energy, the architecture, the seasons, the people... I love it! I love it all! And so it came to be that I planned my second trip out to their neck of the woods to soak up some more of the Boston vibe.

Leandra and Victor, first of all, are quite the little power couple- but in a classy, understated, not-shoving-it-down-your-throat kind of way. They are the poster children for the whole " pursue your passion" concept, having both made major career shifts in the name of this pursuit and finding a myriad of success as a result of this courageous choice. After spending years in management for the largest rental car company in the world while living in LA (which is how I met both of them and several of my best and closest friends), Victor decided to fulfill his goal of achieving military service and enlisted in the Army reserve with the intent to eventually pursue a Master's degree. He left for basic training, came back a leaner, meaner Victor, and began the application process. I remember the day he called me to tell me he'd gotten into USC, my own Alma Mater of which I am only sliiiiiightly proud (now blaring USC Fight Song). We had ourselves a little phone celebration, one which was quickly trumped when a few weeks later, I got the call saying Victor had also been accepted to some rinky dink institution called Harvard. And so the acceptance letter from my belowed USC got tossed in the fire, and Victor packed up his bags and moved out east. Two years later, he officially earned himself a Master's degree in Urban Planning from jolly ol' Hahvud, then came the time to find a job. Low and behold, the guy landed a position as Regional Planner for the State of Massachusetts. I mean... what a slacker. 

My Lulu (Leandra), has a story no less impressive; she too worked for this same rental car company and at a higher rank, managing the three brands of the company at an airport operation and doing so quite successfully. Whilst having lunch with a friend she hadn't seen in some time on a random weekday, she explained what her position entailed and was faced with an interesting and unexpected dichotomy; the friend sitting across from her was most impressed with and excited by Leandra's achievements, while she herself was... not so excited. She wasn't unhappy; she held no grievances or complaints. She was proud of the success she'd worked so hard for, but she'd reached that point where she craved the ability to do what she loved and not just what she happened to be good at... (sound familiar?) On a whim, she applied for a position with an assisted living facility mere blocks from the house I once shared with her; she'd studied human development as an undergraduate at UC Davis and always knew she wanted to work with the elderly but otherwise had zero experience in the field. She interviewed for the position on her lunch break and assumed it was a long shot. Later that week while visiting for a friend's birthday, I found myself helping her her empty out her office; the following Monday, she stepped ino her role as the Executive Director of Belmont Village in Burbank, California. 

I'm not done though; she hadn't been in that role for yet a year when it came time for Victor (then her fiance) to move to Boston. It was time to find another job! She found a few positions that again seemed like pipe dreams, so she crossed her fingers and rubbed her little teacup chihuahuas for luck. Applications were sent, interviews were done, then she waited, and waited, and waited some more. Enough time had passed that she assumed she'd been passed up... but then the call came. She was now the Executive Director of Neville Place in Cambridge. BOOM. Aaaaand about two months ago, after approximately two years in that role, she was offered a newly created position as the Director of Operations for this facility and ten or eleven others. BOOM, squared! Like I said- power couple. 

My visit with them was phenomenal! They have the most adorable apartment in Beacon Hill, my favorite neighborhood in Boston. I spent a lovely four days in their company and enjoyed the perfect intinerary- Thursday we went out for a birthday dinner at Lolita's (please, go there: try the Naughy Pineapple cocktail and the guacamole trio. Didn't think bacon went well with guac. Guess what? It effing does) followed by a trip to Fenway during the World Series. We had a few beers at a bar near Fenway where I had an amazing pumpkin ale (I think it was called UFO?), took pictures of a sexy waiter with a resemblance to Chris Brown, and sang along to Sweet Caroline with the throngs of Red Sox fans. Friday we did breakfast at the Common (actually, the Public Garden) then took a trip to the Sam Adams brewery. After guzzling some delicious and FREE beer, we hopped on a party bus (complete with stripper pole) en route to Doyle's, the oldest bar in Boston. After chowing down on assorted Boston specialities and trying some other Sam Adams variteties not previously tasted, we embarked on the party bus once again. The bus stopped at a liquor store where we all purchased our poison of choice then got back on the bus to booze while driving around Boston. That evening, we went to a an establishment called Drink- holy mother of all that is good and pure. Please see my next post where I review (read: rave about) this place and why you need to take your happy ass there, post haste. 

Saturday, we recovered from Friday night and made breakfast at home. We then went to a bar in Cambridge to watch Barcelona beat Real Madrid in El Clasico, then walked around Harvard and lunched in Cambridge. We hit the town for some dancing and drinks at a club that evening where there I learned that mechanical bulls and stripper poles are a bicoastal commodity. Despitethe fact that Halloween was almost a whole week later, we found several people in costume that night. In fact, we found someone's abandoned angel costume at the club and distributed the parts among us. I vaguely remember getting handed the angel wings at the end of the night andn wearing them as we stumbled through the Common at 2am. I took pictures with a guy and his stick horse, sand Under the sea with Leandra, and watched Victor try to swing from a tree with the greatest of wease and land on his coccyx instead. Sunday we went to Vermont (!!!! I heart trees) where we grabbed lunch at a cute farmer's market, toured Sugarbush Farm then walked the Quechee gorge. First of all- I did not buy enough cheese from Sugarbush. Second- I didn't think I liked maple syrup, then I tried the real deal. Oh snap! That stuff is great when it's legit! Please look up Sugarbush Farm if you're ever in Woodstock, Vermont and get yourself some cheese, syrup and other tasty goodies like their many spreads and preserves and smoked sausages. In the meantime, order from their website! They ship just about anywhere in the US and the product is superb. I highly recommend the extra sharp 18 and 36 month aged cheddars, the Mountain Jack, and the Cayenne Jalapeno cheddar. Go get some, now! Then come back and finish reading. www.sugarbushfarm.com 

We finished up the day with dinner and a movie at home. I came home Monday and missed Boston the second I left. Good thing I have some airlines miles saved up... I will return. Now, about this Drink place.... 

Lolita Cocina & Tequila Bar

Leandra, her cousin Alyssa and yours truly outside Fenway

Case Negrete by night...

... and by day

Chihuahuas roasting on an open fire

A room wih a view (that room being the kitchen)

Beautiful Beacon Hill

Make Way for Ducklings, and the Sox

Coffee in the Common (ssssh, mine is milk)


That Boston lager!

Le party bus


Two little Mexicans drinking ginger and cassis

Lovely day at Harvard 

Harvard or Hogwarts?

Put your right foot in...

Let there be light.

Yo what time this train coming?

All black everything...

Only YOU can prevent forest fires!

Turns out red bull does give you wings. 

"Go pose with that guy and his stick horse!"

Woodstock, Vermont: no filters need apply

Love at the covered bridge crossing.

Making road kill look good.

I have dimples in Vermont, apparently.

Cute little Cota girls

Look ma, no hands!

Enchanted forest.

Reached rock bottom (of the Quechee gorge)

Quechee Gorge in all it's glory.

The gorge was poochie friendly.

Last day in Beantown... Last look at the colorful trees.

I met a guy.

Please don't make me go!