Festive buzz, Part II: Savoy - PHOTOS
blog by Thea Tio • December 20, 2013 @ 8:49am
“You’re trying to just make people feel warm and fuzzy inside, that’s pretty much the idea,” said Adam Nugent, a bartender at Savoy.
Savoy, which will celebrate its one-year anniversary in January, prides itself on serving unique, handcrafted cocktails. The atmosphere is intimate and low-key while entertainment rotates from live bands to DJs to comedy shows.
“We want people to feel comfortable and not buttoned up. We’re just a bar in Allentown hanging out,” said general manager Shannon Callahan.
(Editor’s note: You can read a full-fledged interview and profile of Savoy written shortly after the bar-restaurant opened here. I’m not against a little self-promotion every so often).
After trudging through the snow on Elmwood, I walked in and the Hot Buttered Rum ($9) on the drink menu immediately caught my eye. This rich and creamy beverage comprises dark rum, brown sugar, cinnamon, butter, nutmeg and hot water.
“The ingredients we put in the Hot Buttered Rum (below, right) have the consistency of a batter essentially that’s put at the bottom of the glass and then the hot water combines all the ingredients,” Nugent explained.
Savoy’s buttered rum has a higher fat content than a Tom and Jerry, well, because of the butter in it, shockingly. Needless to say, it’s delicious.
“It’s the best thing to have on a cold day and evokes the kind of feeling that warms your heart. When you drink it, you just want to sit next to a fire and cozy up,” said Nugent.
Also on Savoy’s seasonal drink menu is Cider Mate ($9), which has apple cider, rye whiskey, black rum, old-fashioned bitters, Allspice-infused orange syrup and cinnamon.
Scotch, drambuie, lemon sour, English Bishop float and flamed lemon coalesce to make up the Honey Pot ($9), pictured left.
While scotch is rarely my personal drink of choice, it’s not overwhelming in the Honey Pot. The lemon peel is lit with a match to bring out the peel’s essential oils.
To me, this drink is reminiscent of honey lemon tea, but of course with the added element of alcohol.
“This is more of a fall drink, but it is highly requested during the winter season. People love it, they really do,” said Nugent (see another Honey Pot photo below, right).
“It’s unique that there’s no honey, but the lemon really grabs it out of the drambuie, which is pretty cool,” Nugent remarked. “The drambuie alone tastes like really sweet scotch—it’s a blended scotch with spices and honey.”
The Mexican Poinsettia ($8) has tequila, port wine, Amaro liqueur, lemon juice and a king ice cube that makes any cocktail look classy.
One word to describe this: zesty. An herbal-spiced drink, the clove flavor really comes through with just one sip and the hint of tequila plays off it.
“Its definitely different, you’re mixing tequila with an Italian liqueur. Tequila’s a beautiful thing, if you really mix right with it, it’s fabulous. It’s a high octane drink for sure, its almost all spirits, which is nice when you’re paying $8-10 for a cocktail,” said Nugent.
The drink ordered most at Savoy? The Sazerac ($8) which has Absinthe Rinse, rye whiskey, Peychaud’s Bitters, raw sugar cubes and flamed lemon.
Known as “America’s First Cocktail,” Sazerac—which refers to the drink’s original brand of cognac—was created in New Orleans in the 1800s, but it’s clearly evolved over two centuries.
“There’s only sugar and bitters in there essentially and it’s becoming really popular around the country. Restaurateurs are putting it on their menus since it’s such a classic,” said Nugent.
What not to order when Nugent is tending bar? “Long Island Ice Tea, I swear when people order that. I’d rather have someone order a cocktail with egg whites in it,” he laughed. Spoken like a true mixologist.