Here it is, the last WINTER COCKTAIL CRAWL post. (“Thank God” says you, how do you think my liver feels?)
One of the reasons I came up with this series of Cocktail Crawl posts was to get more bar time at Heritage. No lie.
The whole city is swooning over them and I am right there with the crowds, a card carrying member of the Heritage fan club. I’m also in the Misfits Fiend Club and a Friend of Tom if you were wondering.
By now I am sure the name Mattias Hagglund rings a bell. You know, the bar man at Heritage, he of the Pappy tattoo? He likes to make drinks. Now, I’ve met schloads (to use a recent descriptor from his drink menu) of bartenders who like to make drinks, who love to make drinks, who live to make drinks…
but this guy, THIS GUY
He is MAD for it.
It’s almost childlike, the joy in his eyes when he is behind the bar, like Santa had just been by with a big bag full of Bitters and Amaro. In fact, he organized a statewide putsch, to try and get those sought after items into our (draconian, and government monopolized) ABC stores. (You know what great taste the government has.) Yes, he is working for US!! Fighting the good fight against the man trying to keep us from our Chartreuse!
While privatization of liquor sales in Virginia will likely never happen at least we know that someone has our back and while we wait for our state to get it’s head out of the 1930s, we can rejoice in the cocktails at Heritage.
Such as: The deceptively fantastic Agostura Sour.
I believe I once had three of these in one 15 minute sitting, and wanted more.
Maybe you were lucky enough to try some Glogg last month, a family recipe brought out for the holiday, deeply spiced and brimming with raisins set to burst from their extended, nutty, hot wine bath.
One of my favorite things about Mattias behind the bar, is that he listens to what you like, finds out what you want and then makes you something better. He introduced me to one of my most beloved libations The Boulevardier, you know, for those times when you want a Negroni, but you REALLY want bourbon in it.
I’ve had many drinks at Heritage (and hope to have many more) and each time Mattias is ready to talk with me about my selection, about drinks and spirits in general. He is a perpetual student of his craft.
He and his wingman, Tim (whose brunch cocktails deserve a shout out- that Bloody Mary! Have Mercy!) craft clever, classic, happy drinks. What makes them special to me is the unabashed enthusiasm with which they are made, the thought and process that go into even a simple garnish, the will to share their knowledge and the genuine excitement they have when you take the first sip.
They care and it shows.
When you go into Heritage, you will eat well and you will drink well and when you leave you will feel you have been well cared for.
This has been Winter Cocktail Crawl 2012.
Thanks for drinking along.
Your Old Pal,