20 Prince Street
New York, NY 10012

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One of the great things about what I do is getting to meet new people at cool places where I often enjoy crisp cocktails, delicious food, and more often than not, pleasant conversation. This past week I had the privilege of checking out the new colonial French-inspired Nolita basement bar, 1534.

I spent the afternoon with some fine people – all of us sampling the bar’s varieties of small plates including succulent lamb meatballs, plump shrimp with coconut curry dipping sauce, mini croque monsieur’s, a take on tuna ceviche with won ton chips, a pizza-like tart, and more.

The food was accompanied by a number of specialty cocktails – most of which are not currently served at the bar, but very well may be in time.

We started out with a Hot Apple Xante – a hot toddy of sorts made with 1 ½ oz. apple juice, 1 ½ oz Xanté Pear Liqueur, and a Cinnamon Stick. It was the perfect start as I was just coming in out of the frigid weather. It warmed the soul and my body – which needed it – seriously, it was cold last week!

After this cocktail and a little nibble, I was handed a glass of Black Tower Dry Riesling. It was a refreshing way to cleanser the palate and prepare for the next cocktail and food choices. Rieslings tend to be thought of as strictly sweeter wines. This one, however was more on the dry side – crisp and refreshing.

Our next cocktail selection was called the BLT. It was an interesting take on a Bloody Mary, but made with rum, and garnished rather interestingly. The ingredients are 1.5 oz of Bacon-infused Flor de Caña 7 yr rum, 2 oz Sacramento tomato juice, Dash Worcestershire sauce, Pinch celery salt, Pinch black pepper, Squeeze of lemon juice, Dollop of horseradish, and Fresh Cilantro to taste. It is then garnished with – ready for this? – One piece of bib lettuce wrapped around a thick piece of crispy apple wood smoked bacon and an avocado slice skewered with a toothpick, and topped with a cherry tomato. They could have stopped at the bacon and I would have been satisfied. The Flor de Caña 7 yr rum is a very nice rum, though I may be hesitant to make this cocktail again. The flavors were a bit too sharp for my taste. I’d rather sup this rum on its own, and throw bourbon into the BLT recipe, but that’s just me.

For dessert famed pastry chef Martin Howard baked and served up some tasty treats that feature Lucid absinthe, launched in 2007 as the first absinthe to be legally available in America. We started with a clever cupcake called The Eyes Have It – A devil’s food cupcake filled with Lucid buttercream, topped with a rich ganache and white chocolate eyes. Each cupcake was just bigger than bite-size, but packed the punch of a full dessert.

As if that wasn’t enough, we then tried an apple treat called Lucid Apple Pan Dowdy made with Apples, Lucid soaked raisins, brown sugar and cinnamon baked in a casserole dish covered with a flaky pastry crust, and served with a Lucid whipped cream. The best way to describe this would be to call it an apple pie on crack. Good stuff, man!

We were given a cocktail called the Lucid Legend – a thick, creamy cocktail made with Lucid Absinthe that was surprisingly bright despite its creamy texture.

Before we said our goodbyes, we were treated to a glass of Borderies XO 70 Cognac. Normally I do not drink cognac, but this was really smooth – the perfect warmer before heading back out into the cold.

The afternoon was an absolute delight. I enjoyed good food, great drinks, and made some new friends. I will be returning to 1534. Hopefully by then these drinks will be mainstays on their menu. If not, there’s plenty more to choose from.