The "Terrible Thing" at Sixes and Sevens. 

Image: Jenn Duncan

WHILE DEVISING ORIGINAL COCKTAILS FOR HER NEW MONTROSE BAR, Sixes and Sevens, beverage director Lacy Williams began playing with the idea of a creamy nondairy drink for fall. She initially experimented with the Flip, a classic frothy libation combining spirits, egg, sugar, and spice. Then she decided to add chocolate to the mix—and realized she was on to something.

Williams eventually worked out a recipe, combining Valrhona cocoa powder with a smoky scotch, rye, orange liqueur, orange juice, cinnamon syrup, and a little nondairy coconut cream. She shook it vigorously, poured it over ice, and took a sip. To her delight, the concoction, which she dubbed Terrible Thing, tasted like Yoo-hoo, the drink she loved when she was a kid.

“It was an unintentional but happy coincidence,” she says, laughing. “It turned into this light, bright, very chocolaty but not overly creamy drink. It has these elements of being slightly citrusy and slightly creamy, and slightly sweet. I think it’s going to be great for fall.”

Williams and Anthony Calleo, chef at the neighboring local haunt Rudyard’s, opened Sixes and Sevens—the name comes from the English idiom describing a state of disorder or confusion—in May. It’s owned by the Rudyard’s team but isn’t a copycat of that convivial beer-centric tavern; instead, Sixes and Sevens focuses on original cocktails, served up in an atmosphere that has been carefully thought out, down to the algorithmically timed lighting system that helps establish the mood of the bar.

Neon oranges and reds warm up the space, while blue and purple lights are cued up to establish a slightly calmer vibe. Williams describes the look they were going for as something sleek, modern, and inviting. “Think Stanley Kubrick on a depression upswing opening a bar inside Blade Runner,” she explains. “We absolutely take ourselves seriously, but at the same time, we don’t take ourselves too seriously.”

The playful side of the place comes through in the details. Drop a dollar and grab a token to play the bar’s The Price Is Right-style Plinko board, where prizes include drink discounts and donations made to the Montrose Center, which offers mental and behavioral health services to people in the LGBTQ community. Or order some food off of Calleo’s creative Japanese izakaya-inspired menu: get the bao buns, featuring chicken breast breaded and fried up, then served with Thai basil inside the fluffy, steamed bread topped with drizzles of mayonnaise and black garlic vinaigrette. Then sit back and take it all in. You may enter the establishment at sixes and sevens, but Williams promises to help you figure out what to do next. As she puts it: “We always end up discovering something really, really fun.”


Terrible Thing

Ingredients

  • 3/4 oz Hochstadter’s Slow & Low Rock and Rye Whiskey
  • 3/4 oz The Famous Grouse Smoky Black Blended Scotch Whisky
  • 1 T Paula’s Texas Orange Liqueur
  • 1 T Valrhona cocoa powder
  • 3/4 oz orange juice
  • 3/4 oz cream of coconut, preferably Coco Reàl 1/2 oz cinnamon syrup, preferably Torani

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a shaker tin, add ice, and shake well.
  2. Strain mixture into a rocks glass over ice.
  3. Garnish with an orange slice.
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