Just dropping by to dust off the cobwebs accumulated during my recent hiatus, and share some thoughts. My wife and I have completed the move from CA to Portsmouth, NH, found a nice place to live and I found 2 jobs tending bar.
After about three weeks here, I am starting to settle in. Before checking out a great little spot/bar/restaurant last night in Kittery, ME called "The Black Birch", I thought nearly every bar's cocktail list was devoid of sophisticated-type cocktails. You know... around here words like herbal and bitter sound more like warnings than optimal descriptors.
The Black Birch gave me some hope. Cocchi Vermouth and Americano are featured in cocktails, along with Fernet-Branca, Dolin, Carpano Antica and Cardamaro. Bourbons out numbered vodkas 4 to 1 (I applaud) on the limited, yet well-appointed spirits shelf. They literally had the 1 vodka, Ketel One, on display. I noticed that the bartenders seemed to be free-pouring- as opposed to measuring out the cocktail components- but the drinks we had were well-balanced. The beer list was highly impressive and the food was stellar. Wines by the glass were also a nice selection. The busy bartenders were of few words, but were on point and cordial.
There are some other places, like "Black Trumpet" in Portsmouth, doing some decent cocktails (and outstanding food) but so far, The Black Birch would be my top preference. I am looking forward to trying out many more of their offerings.