Yes, the cocktails at Harold's Tap Room really are “one louder” than any other autumnal libations around. “Louder” in the sense that every note of the carefully crafted symphony of flavors in each drink pleasantly pierces your palate. “Louder,” also, ironically, that the relatively low volume of liquid in each drink nevertheless makes your taste buds go “BOOM!”
Nigel Tufnel would definitely approve.
In the past, I have sung the praises of Harold’s in the Heights, the Taproom’s sister restaurant upstairs, where chef Antoine Ware has created a menu of well-executed riffs on Southern and Creole classics, such as étouffée balls and crispy duck parts.
This time my paean is dedicated to bar manager Lauren Muse for her wonderful, complex line-up of fall cocktails, some of which are stamped with just a wee bit of sarcasm. See, for example, the “Like OMG,” a nod to over-zealous white gals who just can’t get over something (and themselves). Well, guilty as charged because I can’t get over this drink’s warm, sweet collaboration of lemon and ginger infused vodka, house-made RumChata, pistachio orgeat garnished with brown sugar and its cinnamon rim.
The “Autumn-Mobile” will drive pork lovers to assume a fetal (pig) position given the salty-sweet partnership of its maple- and bacon-infused vodka base that is made all the boozier via the addition of green chartreuse, Nocello, Kahlua and orange zest.
If I were forced to distinguish any of these admirable drinks with a “first place” prize, the honor would go to the “Tequila & Taxidermy.” It's basically New England fall in liquid form, which made this Yank quite nostalgic. The tequila infused with pomegranate and pumpkin evoked crisp afternoons spent picking autumn produce at local farms, while the layers of orange liqueur and herbal Cynar reminded me of mulled cider sipped on hayrides. And those whole peppercorns and final splash of ginger beer? They reminded me of the smell of bonfires held on Fridays before my high school’s football games as well as the inevitable burn when they lost by double-digit margins because they were just that consistently *****y.
But speaking of things the antithesis of *****y, the fall cocktails in Harold’s Tap Room are lovely and only available for a limited time, so drink up.