Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Speakeasy Cleveland: Quintana's Barber & Dream Spa

At Mystery Playground we love modern speakeasy bars that capture the mystery and romance of the old speakeasies from the era of Prohibition without the grit. Kerry Hammond has found another great one in Cleveland, Ohio.

One of the first things I do when I visit a new city is an internet search. I don’t search for restaurants or hotels, though, I search for Speakeasies. Even if I’ve been to a city before, I never know if a new one has popped up since my last visit; a quick search ensures that I’m not missing anything.

I was pleasantly surprised when I planned a recent trip to Cleveland and my Speakeasy search came up with not only a new-to-me location, but the Speakeasy in question was holding a mixology class. My friends and I signed up for the fun at Quintana’s Barber & Dream Spa, located in Cleveland Heights.

The Speakeasy is located inside a barbershop. There is a staircase in back and when you walk to the top you are faced with a beautiful bookcase. We were pretty stumped, but were soon rescued when another couple came up the stairs to join us. They had been to the place before and gave us a little hint, in the form of a book title: Daughter of Fortune.

One look at the bookshelf and we spotted the book. When we opened the cover we found a button inside. One press of the button unlatched the bookcase and we were able to swing it open and enter. Inside, the bar was decorated with framed Prohibition photos and the seating was comfortable and full of the wood trim and dark colors that make speakeasy visitors feel like they’ve gone back in time.

Our mixology class was one of the best I’ve taken. The two drinks we made were the bartender’s own concoctions, using a traditional base and adding his own flair. They provided fresh ingredients and all of the tools we needed to make two of the tastiest cocktails I’ve had in a long time.

Our instructor even gave us a couple of tips that I will remember whenever I mix a drink:

1) Always start with the cheapest ingredients and end with the most expensive. If you put in the lemon juice and simple syrup, then realize that your quantities are wrong, you can always throw them away and start over without losing much. If you start with the gin, it’s a more painful mistake.

2) Don’t fill the shaker with ice and then start adding your ingredients. Put all the ingredients in first, then add the ice and shake. That way, if you get a phone call, the doorbell rings, or anything else interrupts your masterpiece, your drink doesn’t sit in your shaker and get watered down.

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