Drumbar looks the same. There's still espresso furnishings, still cushioned canopied booths, still an expansive fire-pit-adorned patio with lake and Hancock Tower views, still a business-traveler-and-tourist clientele. What's different is behind the bar: specifically a new cocktail menu crafted by a tie-and-vest-clad, former-Aviary mastermind named Craig Schoettler.
Schoettler warns that the menu is "under construction," is "organic," and will "change at will," understandable because the liquid nitrogen and vacuum pots haven't arrived yet. Bottle service is off (but still available) and their own beer label is coming, brewed by Mikkeller in Copenhagen.
Five classic and five specialty cocktails ($13) allow Schoettler to straddle the line between complex and approachable. Pineapple is a highlight, a flaming mint sprig lends its aroma to breezy pineapple juice and green chartreuse.
Two drinks feature flavored ice, transforming flavors over their life spans. Cinnamon ice in the Grey Goose Le Poire-based peared catches eyes, two spicy orange icebergs adrift in a yellow sea of ginger syrup. In cranberry, a block of cranberry ice melts into a stinging mix of Elijah Craig 12-year bourbon, ginger syrup, and fresh orange juice, shifting colors dramatically. The old fashioned is a nod to the origin of cocktails, utilizing syrup rather than muddled fruit and sugar, achieving a smoother, lighter sip.
With a location that's still more conducive to a cab ride than an impromptu stroll, Schoettler hopes offering his brand of unique cocktails and spirits will bring Drumbar unique traffic. As if on queue, a nondescript couple saddle up to the bar.
"I heard something about a cinnamon ice cube," the man states.