Some of America’s best whiskey cocktails originated at hotel bars.
(The Sazerac was first stirred at the Roosevelt Hotel in New Orleans; the Seelbach made its debut at the Louisville hotel of the same name.) With Seelbachs and Sazeracs in mind, the InterContinental Buckhead has created this modern tribute to America’s cocktail history.
Until just recently, I had bounced through the InterContinental lobby without pausing to appreciate the barrel-shaped Bourbon Bar that punctuates the stylishly whimsical Southern Art, the namesake restaurant of Southern-born celebrity chef Art Smith. Call me tardy to the party. All this time, I’ve been missing out on a superb whiskey experience.
Lucky for me, Four Roses happens to be the star here. It’s one of my favorite bourbons. You may taste it in classic and novel creations or sip it neat and sweet, courtesy of one of the bar’s Single Barrel selections, presumably hand-picked at the Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, distillery. I started out with a Boulevardier and loved how the tart Campari perked up the mellow whiskey, like a Southern belle squeezing into a bright-red corset. Another time, I requested an Old Fashioned with Fours Roses Small Batch—a good, safe choice.
Unless you’re planning to check in for the night, you may need a snack. I liked Chef Art’s “Church Lady” deviled eggs — they wore their bacon garnish like a fine Sunday hat. (But at $10 for four egg halves, you might not have change to throw into the collection plate.) Maybe go with a butcher’s board from the Ham Bar, which comes with four charcuterie selections, plus housemade saltines, mustard and something the server told me was butter mixed with mustard. Hmmm. Time to cut the fat with a drink.
The Governor, a whiskey sipper layered with orange and walnut bitters, made me want to curl up in a wing chair by the fire. The Bedford was like Christmas in a glass. An elixir of Rittenhouse Rye, Carpano Antica and cherry-bark vanilla bitters, it comes in a tall champagne flute. A tad spicy for me. But dang if that wasn’t the best brandied cherry I ever had. Maybe I don’t need to rush. Maybe I’ll get a room.
3315 Peachtree St. N.E.
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