Jump to content


Welcome to the eG Forums!

These forums are a service of the Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to advancement of the culinary arts. Anyone can read the forums, however if you would like to participate in active discussions please join the Society.

Photo

CLE: The Velvet Tango Room


  • Please log in to reply
40 replies to this topic

#1 edsel

edsel
  • participating member
  • 984 posts
  • Location:NEO (North-East Ohio), US

Posted 24 July 2006 - 03:48 PM

[Moderator's note: This topic on the Velvet Tango Room was split off from another topic. CA]

Thanks, everyone! I was so frustrated by the car thing that I went out and spent way too much on sushi at a restaurant within walking distance of my apartment in Indy.

Yeah, a return to VTR is in order, for sure. I realized, somewhat belatedly, that "VTR" means next to nothing in the context of this thread. :wacko: I was referring to "Velvet Tango Room", a very lovely bar not far from Momocho. Actually, "bar" sounds far too vulgar - Lounge? Speakeasy? :wink:

I guess they're sort of "Latin" (Tango in the name), and they serve some lovely drinks made with 10 Cane, a Trinidadian rum. Don't let the nay-sayers put you off, the mixed drinks with 10 Cane are lovely. Classic Daiquiri comes to mind. The Old Cuban sounds a bit whack, but I'm game for trying it. :laugh:

Edited by chrisamirault, 30 July 2007 - 07:10 AM.


#2 torakris

torakris
  • manager
  • 11,008 posts
  • Location:Cleveland Heights, Ohio

Posted 25 July 2006 - 06:36 PM

In a different thread NancyH posted:

We finished our evening with cocktails at the Velvet Tango Room. We sampled a variety of fine cocktails while enjoying first the piano standards, then the jazzy piano and bass duo, while lounging on a comfy couch. Old Cuban, Apple Brandy Sour, Amaretto Sour for me, Ramos Gin Fizz for Shannon and Kris (yes, you read that correctly), Rob Roy and Manhattan for Bob. As always, Paulius made us feel spoiled and special - he had us sample a new drink concoction that was wonderful:

THE PISCO SOUR: “Pisco” is a clear grape brandy that is Peru’s national drink, and the Pisco Sour is the traditional method of consumption. The complexity of the fresh lemon with our boutique bitters made this cocktail a hit with all of us.

Paulius also let us sample a bunch of their house-made marshiano cherries, which are good enough to eat on their own (no red dye or soupy corn syrup here). And the chocolate truffles were heavenly!

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"
Manager, Membership
kwagner@egstaff.org


#3 torakris

torakris
  • manager
  • 11,008 posts
  • Location:Cleveland Heights, Ohio

Posted 25 July 2006 - 06:43 PM

I would definitely not use the word bar to describe the Velvet Tango Room. I came home floating on Saturday, partly because of the drink :biggrin: and partly because this was one of the most wonderful places I have ever been to.
Paulius is a true gentleman and it may be just another cocktail bar if it wasn't for his presence and his incredible dedication to preserving the art of the cocktail.
I don't drink but his Ramos Gin Fizz had me thinking it is time to start!

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"
Manager, Membership
kwagner@egstaff.org


#4 edsel

edsel
  • participating member
  • 984 posts
  • Location:NEO (North-East Ohio), US

Posted 25 July 2006 - 06:49 PM

So sorry I missed the festivities on Friday (don't get me started on the car thing. :angry: )

VTR is such a wonderful throw-back. Is anyone here old enough to remember when cocktail lounges were supposed to be elegant, suave, sophisticated? :laugh: When I was last there, we met on the patio, passing through the "secret" door - shades of the old speakeasy era. :cool: The blimp was flying overhead (Indians game a couple miles away at the Jake). There were fireworks. It all feels so ... retro. :wink:

Kris, I can't believe you drank something with alcohol and lived to tell the tale. I had a Ramos Gin Fizz at VTR a couple of weeks ago. Raw egg white usually puts me off a bit, but everyone raved about that drink so i tried it. It lives up to the hype - what a complex and fascinating concoction (at least as VTR executes it).


I have to say that the real hit for me was the classic daiquiri that Paulius started us out with. Forget the crappy slushy drinks that you may have encountered in the past, this was subtle sweet-tart citrus and rum wonder. I want to try the Old Cuban next....

Edit to add: I see we've been split off from the other thread. Fine by me - VTR deserves its own topic!

Edited by edsel, 25 July 2006 - 06:53 PM.


#5 torakris

torakris
  • manager
  • 11,008 posts
  • Location:Cleveland Heights, Ohio

Posted 25 July 2006 - 06:58 PM

We should have reservations for the "secret" room for Friday (Nancy were you doing that?).
I have to remember to save room for the Bananas Foster, prepared tableside!
That Ramos Gin Fizz was incredible I have never had anything like it, I am really torn between that and the amaretto sour. I had a sip of Nancy's and loved it!

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"
Manager, Membership
kwagner@egstaff.org


#6 Linda Griffith

Linda Griffith
  • participating member
  • 12 posts

Posted 01 August 2006 - 07:06 AM

Sounds like a fun night coming up!  I look forward to it.

View Post


More About the Velvet Tango Room from an article that I wrote for "Currents"...a monthly pulication that goes to about 100,000 suburben homes in Northeastern Ohio. I had lots of fun writing this one:

ON FOOD & WINE February 2002 A Wonderful Mystery


“Ah sweet mystery of life, at last I found you!”

These enticing lyrics from a bygone era also set the stage for a Cleveland gem. If you are fortunate enough to know about it and there’s room, you will find yourself transported to a warm and wonderful place you thought only existed in Chicago or New York. All I will tell you now is that its name suits it well, conjuring images of lush elegance of days long gone.

This is a jewel of many mysteries. Perhaps it’s the setting, so close to downtown, dimly lit and difficult to find the first few times. Or possibly it is its name in pink neon in a window that often isn’t even visible from the outside. Or is it the vast grate that often covers the whole window-wall outside? It’s often in place when the hour grows late, or the place is filled. Many also wonder about the only TV in the place, muted and set to show only old movies and only in black and white! Still others see mystery in the aura surrounding the handsomely stylish and commanding man who might greet you near the door.

The cognoscenti know that nothing is accidental here. And they would suggest that you be patient and its many subtle layers will slowly reveal themselves. They will always entertain, and if you pay attention, you just may not miss an important bit of information, a clue….to something very fascinating that’s difficult to explain.
Invisible hands leave little to chance. A small sign by the entrance announces to one and all, not what you will find inside, rather you are told what is NOT there. It is not a place to come in shorts or tee shirts; nor is it a place that serves white Zinfandel wine. In other words, this is not a booze place in the Flats. So what is it really?


For certain it is the perfect place to visit after a dinner near downtown. Or it might be a place to visit before you have a late dinner nearby. Or after theater or the opera. An exceptional drink or two made by real professionals enjoyed in stylish comfort. Add some beautiful piano music and one is transported to another place in time. This is Cleveland’s bar at New York’s Carlyle; once you find it, you will visit often. But you will never mention it to those who might not appreciate it.

“I see this as a place for mature adults,” Mysterious Creator told me. And so it is, complete with an old and stunning Cuban mahogany bar and richly trimmed back wall, with each end ornamented by slim vertical glass rods. A number of tall, intimate tables are equally inviting. The walls are painted a serious pink. “It’s a really flattering color and it makes everyone glow,” he said. And when I noted the recently installed purse hooks under the bar, he mentioned that he saw them in Chicago a few weeks earlier and thought that women would appreciate having a place off the floor for their purses. And they do.

But this is far from all there is. It takes a few minutes to realize that this is not just one room. To the back of the first room, just go up two steps and there, in a subtly lit, plum-painted alcove are deep and inviting pewter velvet sofas, some comfortable chairs and a large antique radio, silenced long ago by age. It might take a few visits, but some time you will finally chuckle at the marvelous painted flamingos on a mirror above a sofa. You can’t see it all in one visit. This alcove is the place to sit when you come with a few friends. At some point you will realize that just a tad further back in the alcove is a baby grand piano which comes to life almost every evening. This entire setting could be an exotic movie set, except, here, there is always someone to serve you who will always know your preferences.

Every detail has been planned very carefully. “I wanted this place to be masculine, yet appealing to woman,” Mysterious Creator said. “So I aimed for a look that’s a cross between grandmother’s living room and a ….brothel. It’s got to be seductive!” And it is.

He’d been one of this city’s few seriously professional waiters for many years, first waiting tables at Johnny’s Bar on Fulton as a young college student. There he learned well from both demanding patrons and a very demanding boss. When the CSU art department closed before he finished his degree, he just took on more work hours. By then he was very skilled. His last five years in the business he worked at Classics. Twenty years passed in a flash!

“I finally knew it was time for me to stop serving other people’s pie,” he said with a chuckle. “It was time to bake my own pie.”

There is probably nothing he does not know about food and beverage as “entertainment.” But first he needed to identify his strengths and figure out how he might use them best. Then he examined the entertainment needs in the region in relation to his particular set of strengths and experiences.
Conclusion? An elegantly comfortable, free-standing bar with live music did not really exist here as it does in other big cities. There was no destination place that was top shelf all the way. About that time, an old bar, not far from his home, came on the market. The building was virtually derelict when MC bought it. But the location felt right. It was easily accessed by East and West siders alike. It was close to both Tremont and Ohio City. Parking was plentiful and free. The neighborhood, while old, is safe.

Then surprises came tumbling out of the walls; there is an album of photographs to prove it. In fact, it may be what turned his hair to silver by the time he opened! A weight-bearing wall was close to collapse because a previous owner removed the beam, but never thought to replace it. Luckily the second floor did not pancake into the first. And Mysterious Creator and a group of supportive friends were able to do most of the work themselves. In the end, their results are quite beautiful and very, very appealing. It is obvious that its style was determined by a clever person of elegant taste and unusual humor.

There is nothing left to chance. The bottles behind the bar speak volumes. There is only quality here. Top, top shelf liquor, the finest Champagnes and exotic liqueurs abound. The two women bartenders are mature and experienced; any cocktail you might want, they can prepare, no matter how obscure. Guests understand that making real cocktails takes talent and attention. Glasses are chilled, not rinsed with ice water. When needed, cocktails are mixed with only freshly made simple syrup and hand squeezed juices. Not surprisingly, folks living near the bar were horrified to learn that their derelict watering hole was no longer. Drinks here now start at $10 and people are happy to pay the price for quality.
The next worry was….would they come, again? There is nothing MC does not know about good service and how best to please his customers. He is expert on making people comfortable under virtually all circumstances. And his touch is so subtle it is rarely noticed, except possibly by his friends.

Then there are the “extras.” Each woman receives a long stem rose, hand-stripped of thorns. There is an array of exceptional hand-made chocolates offered on a special “menu,” usually preceded by a variety of samples. They are a perfect compliment for a bottle of vintage port or a glass of champagne. From time to time, he might offer a petite edible chocolate cup filled with Bailey’s or port. His frequent patrons love these little touches. He knows just how to make women feel Fabulous. Which is why people come and return again. How can we not love someone who believes that a flûte of good champagne makes every woman beautiful?

Like celebrated bars of an earlier century, this has its “potent house-specialty cocktail.” Here it is the French 75, named after a special piece of French artillery used in the first World War. Legend says the drink originated in Venice’s fabled Harry’s Bar. It is made with cognac, champagne and some mysterious extras. A few French 75s and you, too, will certainly start wondering about the people who seem to disappear in the back, behind the piano? Or were you just too caught up in conversation to notice their return? ..........

There is much more to this article. The Mysterious Creator is Paulius Nasvytis. Recently he did a very brave thing...he totally purged his beautiful VTR of all smoke and took it smoke-free. All of its mixes are natural now. All of the juices are fresh. Paulius is a student of the exotic cocktail, so that menu is constantly evolving. There will be special ones for the winter to replace the summer ones when those special fresh ingredients are no longer available.

I don't work for Paulius, I hasten to say. But I have to admit that I've probably known him for almost as long as I've known my husband, since he first worked as a waiter since before Fred and I were married.

Velvet Tango Room
(216) 241-8869
It is On Columbus just south of where it crosses Abby
(behind the W. 25th Street Rapid Station)

#7 edsel

edsel
  • participating member
  • 984 posts
  • Location:NEO (North-East Ohio), US

Posted 09 December 2006 - 07:46 PM

This thread started rather abruptly as a spin-off from the Cleveland dining topic. I think it had something to do with my car troubles. :blink:

In various Cleveland-oriented topics we seem to mention stopping off at VTR before or after dinner. Such was the case last night when several eG folks met up at Lolita in Tremont (about two miles from VTR). I've been meaning to post further thoughts about VTR, but somehow haven't got around to it until now.

We made reservations at Lolita at 8:00 last night, mainly because one of our party was working late and couldn't make it before that. (She is a host at the Christmas Story house in Tremont - they stayed open late on Friday to accommodate the cheerful crowds wanting to pose for group photos in front of the famous leg-lamp. :raz: ) So what do we do to kill time before our dinner reservations? We go to VTR! Duh!

I started with a French 75 with gin. They use Hendrick's, which has a cucumber note that goes nicely with the bubbly in the French 75. I followed up with the brandy version of the French 75, which is somewhat sweeter. Both were crafted lovingly and painstakingly. You will never, ever, be served a slipshod drink at VTR. The lemon peel garnish was stripped from the fruit especially for my drink. Don't look for tub of pre-fab stuff at VTR. Everything is prepared to order, and you will never *ever* see anything shot out of a hose.

Another member of our party started with a Bourbon Manhattan, and then followed up with a Manhattan made with Rye. I know that there's a bit of a purist thang about what constitutes a "real" Manhattan. Suffice to say that the mixologists at VTR actually expect you to have an opinion on the subject, and don't hesitate to ask whether you want rye or bourbon. Oh, they also use a house-made vermouth. And custom-crafted bitters. And the cherry is a real cherry soaked in brandy, not some toxic chemical cherry substitute.

One thing that I love about VTR is the whole rhythm of the experience. Walk through the door to VTR and you've stepped into a more genteel era. Was there ever a time when one could step out of the cold into a welcoming, charming environment where your your drink is lovingly crafted from the best ingredients? It sounds like a fantasy, but we've got it in Cleveland.

My previous visit to VTR was before dining at Ty Fun, a lovely Thai restaurant in Tremont. I had to give the root beer float a try. The root beer is of course not the canned stuff - it's brewed from a traditional-style recipe. Top it with some quality ice cream and a bit of bourbon and you've got yourself a lovely little concoction. Yeah, I ordered a second one.

#8 bolognium

bolognium
  • participating member
  • 39 posts
  • Location:Cleveland, OH

Posted 16 December 2006 - 06:33 AM

Thanks to all of Cleveland's foodies for the inspiring and thoughtful words. The VTR is lucky to have so many wonderful people who love us. And we love them back! This is what keeps us going, and I am very grateful for your appreciation. And the cookies! You have no idea how delicious they were after we finished the other night and all sat down to chill for a bit. Merry Christmas to all, and a happy, healthy and delicious New Year. PS - during the weekdays, we will happily make you individual orders of homemade eggnog, with or with-out Kahlua or Southern Comfort! :wink:

#9 Chris Amirault

Chris Amirault
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 19,626 posts
  • Location:Rhode Island

Posted 23 March 2007 - 01:56 PM

bolognium, what's being shaken these days? Anything interesting you want to share with us?
Chris Amirault
camirault@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics Signatory
Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

#10 torakris

torakris
  • manager
  • 11,008 posts
  • Location:Cleveland Heights, Ohio

Posted 23 March 2007 - 04:27 PM

After re-reading this thread I realized I never posted my pictures from last summer, they were only in my foodblog. I am now reposting it here.

After Parallax the 6 of us headed over to the Velvet Tango Room where we were joined by 3 more people for cocktails and dessert.

I really enjoyed the Ramos Gin Fizz when I was there last week but wanted to try something different. I don't drink normally and can't handle anything that actually tastes like alcohol. :hmmm: The bartender was great and said she would make a drink for me. It turned out to be a lovely mixture of with the made on the premises ginger ale with another made on the premises red wine reduction syrup.

We all saved room for dessert. With Bananas Foster and Crepes Suzette on the menu who wouldn't??

Paulius (the owner) prepares everything tableside (or sofa side in our case).
Posted Image

Posted Image


Posted Image

Posted Image

Wonderful!!



and did I mention that Paulius presents all the women with kisses and roses... :wub:

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"
Manager, Membership
kwagner@egstaff.org


#11 bolognium

bolognium
  • participating member
  • 39 posts
  • Location:Cleveland, OH

Posted 31 March 2007 - 04:43 AM

Hi! Ummm, I DID wipe those plates off befire presentation. I hope :wacko: !
So, looks like lots of fun in the near future! I have the backroom booked and ready, including a presentation in classic cocktails that I may call: "The "Chocolate Martini".- The White Zinfandel of This Decade".

#12 BethG

BethG
  • participating member
  • 25 posts
  • Location:Cleveland, OH

Posted 01 April 2007 - 03:13 PM

Great pictures of Paulius. Thanks for posting them.
Darn, now I want a banana's foster, but today is Sunday. :angry:

#13 NancyH

NancyH
  • participating member
  • 889 posts
  • Location:Cleveland Ohio

Posted 07 May 2007 - 08:24 AM

For White Lotus's last night in Cleveland, we started at the Velvet Tango Room. After a lovely dinner at Light Bistro, 5 of us returned to VTR for a last drink together.

We enjoyed a new piano player in the cozy back room, as well as fabulous cocktails.

From our earlier visit - a photo of the non-alcoholic root beer float that White Lotus enjoyed - house made root beer and whipped cream, and locally sourced vanilla gelato:

Posted Image

They will also fortify this drink with bourbon, on request. I was tempted, but:

Once I sampled the new "Dark & Stormy" - a fabulously spicy conconction of house made ginger syrup and ginger beer, topped with Gosling's Black Seal Rum (and served with TWO straws, so the ginger can fully sting your throat with its spicy goodness!) - I was sold on it and could drink nothing else!

Posted Image

Posted Image

Yum. White Lotus - I hope you enjoyed your time in Cleveland!
"Life is Too Short to Not Play With Your Food" (coined while playing with my food at Lolita).

My blog: Fun Playing With Food

#14 Fat Guy

Fat Guy
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 29,303 posts
  • Location:New York, NY

Posted 30 July 2007 - 06:04 AM

We just received this mailing from the Velvet Tango Room. I'll reprint it here:

Hello VTR Friends,

Paulius here with some news for you.  This last week, the August issue of “Northern Ohio Live” magazine was released.  The August issue features the annual “reader’s poll” of restaurants.  This year, there were 3 categories related to cocktails, those being:

Best Bar

Best Libations

Best Bartender

Some 5000+ readers who responded, the VTR swept all three categories, placing FIRST in all three of them.

Wow.

I can speak for all of us to say that we are thrilled and flattered, both proud and humbled, all at the same time.  The support Cleveland has shown us through the years is incredible.  Also, we never, ever tire of witnessing “The Cocktail Epiphany”, the moment when a customer really tastes a cocktail for the first time. 

The entire bar experience at the VTR has become something pretty unusual.  A first-timer can be slightly put-off by the amount of time it takes for them to get their order.  They may hesitate at ordering a “cocktail” as opposed to their “regular drink” but especially as of late, and as our reputation and quest for cocktail excellence grows, more and more people decide to take the chance. 

Then, it is the “moment of truth” for us, and although we try not to stare, we do communicate with each other that there is a “moment” about to take place, and we discreetly watch the first sip.  Truth be told, I myself am less then discreet about this at times, although I try to refrain from “high fives”.

And then it happens.  The “look” ranges from pleasant shock, to an “ohmygodyouhavetotastethis”, to a stunned silence.

I could prattle on, as I have in the past, but I will just say “thank you” again.  To the crusty guy who says “I only drink scotch and soda” and reluctantly orders a scotch sour, to the lady who dares to stray from her “Cosmo-tini”, to the young graduate who says “Now I understand why grandma drank Manhattans”,  we thank you all for becoming a part of our cocktail philosophy.

Don’t forget the VTR’s “Happy Hour”, and complimentary sushi for our Tuesday after-work friends!

Paulius

As a young man I remember being asked by a teacher to spell and define the word “straight”, which I spelled without error.

I blew it on the definition though, saying “without water”. 


I'm no cocktail authority, and I've only sampled two cocktails at VTR, but based on my limited knowledge and exposure to VTR and most of the highly regarded cocktail places in New York I'd say these first-place accolades for VTR are well deserved. There are very few places anywhere that combine such a serious dedication to cocktails with such an incredible space and wonderful, wacky attitude.

Has anybody made note of what the sign by VTR's front door says? Please post it if you know.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)


#15 ricain

ricain
  • participating member
  • 32 posts
  • Location:Shaker Heights, OH

Posted 31 July 2007 - 07:26 PM

Absolutely! I've been to Milk and Honey (London) and Bix (SF) since Jan and the VTR, in all honesty, puts them to shame.

I moved to Cleveland from SF three years ago and cannot believe we have this gem! It's a truly unique place that deserves to be written about in depth and with thought.

#16 ronnie_suburban

ronnie_suburban
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 5,977 posts
  • Location:Suburbs of Chicago

Posted 04 August 2007 - 11:59 PM

Absolutely! I've been to Milk and Honey (London) and Bix (SF) since Jan and the VTR, in all honesty, puts them to shame.

I moved to Cleveland from SF three years ago and cannot believe we have this gem! It's a truly unique place that deserves to be written about in depth and with thought.

View Post

Speak of the devil. Michael Ruhlman just posted a nice piece about The Velvet Tango Room on his blog . . .

It’s the kind of bar which, when you leave it, seems to be the best of all possible public spaces.  You’re filled with a sense of well being and hope.  You’re inclined to make some sort of claim such as “This is the best bar in the world.”  Days later on further reflection, you’re a bit more balanced.  OK, best bar between Chicago (newly opened Violet Hour) and New York (Pegu, Milk and Honey)—without doubt, if you go by the quality of the products and the care with which cocktails are mixed.

"The Best Bar In the World"

=R=
"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

#17 ricain

ricain
  • participating member
  • 32 posts
  • Location:Shaker Heights, OH

Posted 05 August 2007 - 11:13 AM

Touché! And well done!

The conversation Ruhlman relates with his wife is identical to the one I have with my spouse, a native Ohioan, when, in the midst of an April snowshower, I ask her “Why, again, do we live here??”

The big difference in our stories is libational. In my version the coup-de-grace is delivered in the form of a VTR Manhattan. I also like their Negroni (one of my good friends from Berkeley, an original Tuskegee airman, used to make them for me at a 30-year-running Friday night martini party), but Paulius’s special vermouth and cherry really make this Manhattan unique.

Finally, I think Orwell would appreciate the VTR:

http://www.netcharle...under-water.htm

Wouldn’t it be fun, using the VTR as a model, to establish the top ten qualities of the consummate cocktail venue? Oh dear, a book idea!

Best Bar in the World, indeed.

#18 ricain

ricain
  • participating member
  • 32 posts
  • Location:Shaker Heights, OH

Posted 16 October 2007 - 03:58 AM

Everyone, a quick note to say the VTR's newest cocktail, the Aviation, is superb and worth a visit to the VTR on its merits alone. Sweintraub and I visited last night and were able to sample one.

A cocktail from the 30s that is apparently "close to extinction," it's a gin based libation with maraschino cherry liqueur and fresh lemon juice. The VTR's version was incredibly well balanced to the point I could not believe I was drinking a gin cocktail.

Highly recommend this!

#19 edsel

edsel
  • participating member
  • 984 posts
  • Location:NEO (North-East Ohio), US

Posted 16 October 2007 - 01:29 PM

I love the Aviation, and VTR is the only place I know of in Cleveland that makes it. (Most places don't even stock Maraschino liquor.) The Aviation at VTR is properly icy, and I like the flamed lemon zest garnish.

They have another new drink called the Spicy Chica which has lively ginger and cinnamon flavors.

#20 slkinsey

slkinsey
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 11,103 posts
  • Location:New York, New York

Posted 16 October 2007 - 02:14 PM

A cocktail from the 30s that is apparently "close to extinction," it's a gin based libation with maraschino cherry liqueur and fresh lemon juice. The VTR's version was incredibly well balanced to the point I could not believe I was drinking a gin cocktail.

How wonderful to hear that you have such a great cocktail spot in Cleveland! I'm out that way every so often, and for sure will drop in on the VTR the next time I'm there.


As for the Aviation cocktail (eG thread here), I wouldn't say it's anywhere near close to extinction. In fact, I think it's probably more popular today among cocktailians than it was 90 years ago. It first appeared in Ensslin's "Recipes for Mixed Drinks" in 1916, at which time it included gin, lemon juice, maraschino liqueur and crème de violette (imparting a sky-blue color and thus explaining the name). It later appeared in The Savoy Cocktail Book without the crème de violette, and that has become the accepted standard recipe.

Edited by slkinsey, 16 October 2007 - 02:18 PM.

Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

#21 edsel

edsel
  • participating member
  • 984 posts
  • Location:NEO (North-East Ohio), US

Posted 16 October 2007 - 02:24 PM

Oh, I'd forgotten about the crème de violette. The VTR version of the Aviation is just gin, Maraschino, lemon juice. It's a bit tart for some palates, but I like it. :smile:

I wonder if VTR could make a "sky-blue" version on request....

#22 ricain

ricain
  • participating member
  • 32 posts
  • Location:Shaker Heights, OH

Posted 17 October 2007 - 06:06 PM

I love the Aviation, and VTR is the only place I know of in Cleveland that makes it. (Most places don't even stock Maraschino liquor.) The Aviation at VTR is properly icy, and I like the flamed lemon zest garnish.

View Post


Edsel Good point about the flamed lemon zest! It was definitely noticed and a nice touch!

#23 edsel

edsel
  • participating member
  • 984 posts
  • Location:NEO (North-East Ohio), US

Posted 21 March 2008 - 07:33 PM

They're getting ready to introduce a new drink menu at VTR. One of the additions is the Moscow Mule, which will be served in a nifty copper mug. Since the mugs had just arrived today, we had to try them out. :smile:
Posted Image

I also enjoyed a lovely Rangpur Gimlet (already on the current menu). Trying all the while to pretend that it was warm outside... :unsure: These will both make great summertime drinks.

#24 tino27

tino27
  • participating member
  • 831 posts
  • Location:Akron, OH

Posted 21 March 2008 - 08:47 PM

Edsel is right on the money ... the Moscow Mule was so refreshing. I also had a Pesca Sour with the Vietnamese cinnamon and bitters on top ... all I can say is, "whoa!". I'm looking forward to going back for a Dark & Stormy.
Food Blog: Exploring Food My Way: Satisfying The Craving -- Exercising my epicurean muscles by eating my way through everything that is edible.
Flickr: Link To My Account
Twitter: @tnoe27

#25 Alchemist

Alchemist
  • participating member
  • 922 posts
  • Location:NYC

Posted 21 March 2008 - 09:11 PM

They're getting ready to introduce a new drink menu at VTR. One of the additions is the Moscow Mule, which will be served in a nifty copper mug. Since the mugs had just arrived today, we had to try them out.  :smile:
Posted Image

I also enjoyed a lovely Rangpur Gimlet (already on the current menu). Trying all the while to pretend that it was warm outside...    :unsure: These will both make great summertime drinks.

View Post


Color me oxodized with envy. It's still cold enough out to whip up some Blue Blazers.

Toby



A DUSTY SHAKER LEADS TO A THIRSTY LIFE

#26 slkinsey

slkinsey
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 11,103 posts
  • Location:New York, New York

Posted 22 March 2008 - 07:01 AM

Yea, those mugs kick ass. I wonder where they got them.
Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

#27 edsel

edsel
  • participating member
  • 984 posts
  • Location:NEO (North-East Ohio), US

Posted 22 March 2008 - 10:51 AM

It's hard to tell from the picture, but the copper was all fogged up with condensation. The drink was icy cold. I don't know when the new menu is being introduced - it will be supplemental to the regular one, not a replacement.

This drink certainly sounds like a summertime hit. Or at least it would be better suited to warm weather. Like I said, we were in denial about the weather. :raz: I can picture sipping one of these out on the patio.

#28 NancyH

NancyH
  • participating member
  • 889 posts
  • Location:Cleveland Ohio

Posted 22 March 2008 - 12:48 PM

Bob and I were part of this expedition. It had been so long since I'd been to VTR that I needed to start with a Dark and Stormy, even though I knew that there were some fabulous new drinks on the menu!

I'm a rum lover, so I had to try both of the new rum drinks.

First - the Caprihauna [sp??]

Posted Image

Posted Image

Notice how crystal clear those ice cubes are? Filtered water rocks, Paulius!

Posted Image
Spicy Chica

Posted Image

Paulius explained that this is a VTR original, which took several months to perfect. And perfect it is! Top quality rum, house-made ginger syrup, a touch of hot spice (did someone say habenero?), some sweet Amaretto to balance it out, shaken with ice and a fresh egg white, then topped with cinnamon. I repeat - the perfect cocktail; amazingly balanced.

Looking forward to that new menu (and some warmer weather)!
"Life is Too Short to Not Play With Your Food" (coined while playing with my food at Lolita).

My blog: Fun Playing With Food

#29 eas

eas
  • participating member
  • 127 posts
  • Location:with coffee in hand

Posted 22 March 2008 - 06:27 PM

I can't wait to return to VTR...

"All this energy calling me
Back where it comes from"

- Ian Hunter

#30 tino27

tino27
  • participating member
  • 831 posts
  • Location:Akron, OH

Posted 27 June 2008 - 12:57 PM

I've been back several times now over the last couple of months, dragging various family members and friends who heard me prattle on endlessly about how amazing the drinks were. Most recently I went with my aunt (who happened to be in town) and some friends and had some absolutely lovely cocktails. My aunt who is not a cocktail person absolutely fell in love with the Spicy Chica.

Several weeks ago my sister happened to be in town. Knowing that she had bartended in New York City at some pretty swanky places over the years, it didn't take too much persuasion to get her to try the VTR with me. She tried about four different cocktails (fortunately, I was driving :biggrin: ) and proclaimed that VTR's Sidecar was the best that she had ever tasted ... anywhere.

I am always so pleasantly surprised by my experiences there. Even though I just went there two nights ago, I'm already starting to plan my next visit in my head.

Mmmm .... Aviation. :wub:
Food Blog: Exploring Food My Way: Satisfying The Craving -- Exercising my epicurean muscles by eating my way through everything that is edible.
Flickr: Link To My Account
Twitter: @tnoe27