With chef Gregory Vernick in the kitchen so deftly delivering the edible end of Vernick's "Food & Drink" moniker, general manager Ryan Mulholland and beverage manager Vincent Stipo are tasked with making sure the libations aren't afterthoughts.
The mid-sized but smart wine list is worthy enough. But I have a feeling that Stipo's work at the cozy, inviting ground-floor bar, just a few feet from the cafe windows open onto Walnut Street, will soon become a draw on its own. He's got an elegant touch with classics, from the minty Pimm's Cup and bracingly anise Sazerac to a heady vintage Martinez.
But for something truly different, try this refreshing Czech Sour, a Bohemian twist on the Pisco classic using Becherovka, an herbal Czech bitter that blends notes of anise, cinnamon, and 32 other "secret" herbs into an almost honeyed liqueur. Shaken with lemon and egg whites into a tangy, meringuelike froth, it gets a dark chocolate line of spicy Aztec bitters across the top, which Stipo artfullymarbleizes barista-style, like a feathery racing stripe.
- Craig LaBan
Czech Sour, $10, Vernick Food & Drink, 2031 Walnut St.