I just got back from spending a few days at the Modern Hotel
and Bar in Boise. The hotel itself- a redesigned and reconfigured 1960s road
motel- is handsome, comfortable and friendly with very carefully chosen
furnishings and a (non-obnoxious) Design-Within-Reach ambiance. The equally
handsome bar is presided over by head bartender Michael Bowers. I was very
impressed by the bar, by Michael and the rest of the staff, and by the drinks.
Michael is both exceedingly hospitable and knowledgeable
about both classical and new cocktails and throws no attitude or drama in the
process of mixing yummy drinks. The house drink menu is small but select,
including classics like the Alaska and the Metropole as well as house-designed drinks such as the Layover Redux
(bourbon, peated caramel syrup Angostura Bitters, smoked salt & a side of
The bar is stocked with both the stuff we hope to find
(Cocchi Americano, Carpano Antica Formula, Kold-Draft ice) and totally
unexpected surprises- like my first ever taste of Suze, which Michael put into
a Brooklyn variation. Over the course of several boozy evenings I had both an
excellent Martinez and a more-than-excellent Sazerac. My favorite walk-away (I
had it on two successive nights) was the Zig Zag (named after the Seattle bar).
With Rittenhouse Rye, Amaro Ramazzotti, Fernet Branca, Regan's Orange Bitters & flamed orange peel this cocktail is definitely one to add to my rapidly growing
list of Fernet-Cocktails-That-Make-Life-Worth-Living.
Get thee to Boise posthaste!