Tim Driscoll’s Barhopping: Coming full circle

  • The Not So Old Fashioned Cocktail at Coco and the Cellar Bar —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • The Not So Old Fashioned Cocktail at Coco and The Cellar Bar GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

Published: 9/22/2016 3:33:33 PM

This will be my final Barhopping article, so it seems fitting that I return to the place where I realized that mixology and better cocktails had arrived in western Massachusetts: Coco & The Cellar Bar at 95 Main St. in downtown Easthampton.

As I looked over the lineup of housemade tonic syrup, falernum (tiki syrup) and other fascinating infusions that day more than two years ago, I was reminded of the famous line from the movie “Field of Dreams” — “Build it and they will come.”

I remember telling the bartender that day that people would come, and then they would tell their friends about the bar and restaurant’s unique and delicious cocktails concoctions.

So many memories, and so many cocktails.

On a recent Sunday, my friend Cheryl and I arrived at Coco’s shortly after its 4 p.m. opening and there was already a decent crowd. We took a seat at the bar, feeling cozy as our eyes adjusted to the subdued lighting.

Coco’s has a limited sandwich and appetizer menu on Sundays that has proven quite popular. We looked over the menu handed to us by Laura, the general manager, and decided to share two sandwiches: the Saigon Roasted Pork and the Buttermilk Fried Chicken. Both were fresh, spicy and delicious.

To drink, Cheryl had a Tito’s vodka and lime with soda water and ginger-infused simple syrup, while my cocktail of choice was the Not So Old Fashioned. It’s a variation on my favorite drink, the Old Fashioned, made traditionally with rye whiskey and bitters, but spruced up here with simple syrup infused with coriander and hot pepper.

The blend was sublime — a perfectly balanced cocktail.

How to make a Not So Old Fashioned cocktail

Serves 1

2 ounces Redemption rye whiskey

½ ounce simple syrup infused with coriander and hot pepper

Dash of Angostura bitters

Serve over a single large ice cube in a double Old Fashioned glass

Garnish with a wide orange twist

How to infuse simple syrup

Heat 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar, until dissolved. Add other ingredient(s), bring mixture to a rapid boil, then turn down heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove ingredients. Keeps in fridge for 2 weeks.

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