Cuisine: Drinks/Cocktails/Wine Bar
Last visited: September 8, 2011
Location: Manhattan, NY (Chinatown)
Address: 9 Doyers Street
Nearby subway stop: Canal St
Price Range: $10-20 ($15-18+ cocktails)
1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!
- Mixology lounge
- Specializes in cocktails
- Seasonal cocktail menus
- Local and organic ingredients
- House made bitters/reductions/infusions
- Rooftop herb garden
- Premium cocktail list
- Extensive cocktail menu
- Limited wine bar
- Limited snacks available
- Hidden bar/gem
- Lounge like atmosphere
- No cover
- 1 day Mixology classes available
- Mon-Sat 6:30pm-2am; Sun 8pm-12am
**Recommendations: Come for pre-drinks or after dinner drinks.
Okay, no, I wasn’t that bad at all, but I warn you these drinks are strong. I’m not the best person to ask about cocktails, but this is made for people on a liquid diet. If you’re in New York, this is definitely a tourist attraction for any cocktail lover.
I know, this place doesn’t even look legal, but it is. Located in grundgy Chinatown it was shadier than the shadiest Vietnamese restaurant we have in Vancouver, BC. I was brought back to memories of the Narrow Artist Lounge.
Like most hip and happening places in New York, it has no signage once again. I learned this to be a trend very quickly, but this is meant to be a hidden underground type of bar as well. Another thing, is that once a place is popular to locals, it almost becomes so “yesterday” or “uncool”, but Apothéke is still a hidden gem. It is a bit of a hipster scene and it’s definitely more for drinks than it is for dancing. It is an energetic lounge and not a restaurant, although there are some bar snacks available.
Talk about taking cocktails to the next level! It was almost like the chemistry lab of cocktails. It’s inspired by 19th century Paris and European pharmaceutical labs. I felt like I was in a Tim Burton movie or the set of the Backstreet Boys music video for “Backstreet’s Back”. All the bottles looked like potions and the mixologists, or dare I call them “bartenders”, were all dressed in white lab coats. It was all very Frankenstein or Jekyll and Hyde and I was thoroughly entertained by the whole concept.
As a tourist from Vancouver, this sort of thing doesn’t really exist, at least not to this degree. Sure we have award wining mixologists and stellar cocktails, but it’s all in the context of a restaurant and there’s nothing as dramatic as this. Or please enlighten me if there is…
All the ingredients are made in house daily using local and organic produce and herbs from their rooftop garden. It may come across as gimmicky, but it’s not. Apothéke treats cocktails as a serious business and I was completely infatuated by the attention to detail, innovative recipes, and quality ingredients.
They weren’t doing fancy tricks, but it was still a sight to see. The cocktails are organized in categories under Health & Beauty, Aphrodisiacs, Fruit Extracts, Euphoric Enhancers, Therapeutic Treatments, Stimulants, Pain Killers and Stress Relievers. The menu, or what they call “the prescription list” isn’t a bible, but it is extensive and very sophisticated. It sounded like food and it was more complex than dinner menus at Michelin Star restaurants. Even if you don’t drink, or don’t like cocktails, this may change your mind, and if not, it sure is an experience within itself.
On the table:
- Thyme essence, gin, egg white, lemon sour, orange $15-18
- This was under “Stress Relievers”, but the name of it kind of stressed me out. I was hoping to still be a girl after.
- This was my favourite of the 4 I tried.
- It was refreshing, light, tangy, and fruity with citrus notes rather than sweet ones.
- The egg white gave it a little frothiness and the lemony thyme played well with the fruit.
- I would have preferred lemongrass as opposed to thyme for a more Thai influence and stronger aromatics.
- Heather Tips, Vodka, White Peach, Raspberries, Lavender, Limencello, Lime $15-18
- This was under the “Aphrodisiac” cocktail category.
- This was really strong, but at $15-18 it should be… and they all were.
- It was really floral, but not soapy and I could have used more white peach puree and maybe even some vanilla.
- The white peach I think was actually just the slice of fresh peach garnish and although ripe and delicious, I wanted it more incorporated into the cocktail.
- It was more on the tangy side than the sweet side, and there was a slight bitterness which may have been coming from the flowers, not the alcohol.
- House-made beet-cognac reduction, rum, vanilla essence, agave nectar, lime $15-18
- This was under the “Aphrodisiac” cocktail category again. I was feeling lovey dovey after.
- This sounded most interesting to me, but I’m not huge on cognac. The cognac was reduced and somewhat cooked out although I could still taste it.
- The beet added a sweetness, but barely and it didn’t actually taste like beets.
- Overall it was too strong and bold for me and I was as red as a beet after a couple sips.
- A cognac and vanilla infused beet garnish would have been a nice addition too.
- California strawberries, vodka, rosemary, agave nectar, lime, champagne $15-18
- This was under the “Health and Beauty” cocktail category.
- The Dr. Ruth’s I’ve tried are made with Blue Curacao and pineapple, so this was new, but I guess it was just the name.
- This was a bit more typical and it was more tangy than sweet.
- Personally I’m not a fan of California strawberries because I find them really tart. Being from Vancouver, BC we have very sweet local strawberries that taste nothing like California ones. I’m spoiled by them.
- I could have used more strawberry puree, but it was fruity and bubbly with the accent of piney rosemary and it was a very clean drink.
- It’s not nearly as sweet as most strawberry flavoured cocktails can be, but generally with strawberries I prefer basil over rosemary, but that’s personal.