Mace
 
 

Photo credit: Adeline Ramos

A cocktail for every spice in Alphabet City

By Erik Mathes

In a city with literally thousands of places to find decent drinks, it’s almost impossible to find a bar that commands cocktail connoisseurs pay it a visit. There would have to be some sort of “it factor”—something extra-special to convince soon-to-be customers of its spirit-shaking superiority. At Mace, owned by industry mavens Greg Boehm (Cocktail Kingdom) and Nico de Soto (ex-Experimental Cocktail Club), that’s exactly what you’ll find.

But reducing what they do to “spice-themed cocktails” would be an injustice to the magic elixirs expertly prepared by Christian Dominguez (Mace’s head bartender) and crew. Consider the idea of saffron-infused gin mixed with almond milk, orange flower water and rose water, fresh lemon and lime juice, a touch of sugar and a splash of soda, served frothy after a vigorous shaking with egg whites and then topped with chopped, salted pistachios. You get the picture of what this place prides itself on.

Evidence of Mace’s excellence is on full display here, hinting at what’s to come: Wall cubbies are stacked with dozens of mason jars filled with cinnamon sticks, whole nutmeg and, of course, mace (derived from the delicate skin, or aril, of the seeds we know as nutmeg; if you knew that, give yourself a high-five). On the bar sit ornate jars of tinctures and bitters you’d be hard-pressed to guess the contents of, since they come in are-you-kidding-me flavors like bee pollen, black walnut, and Roquefort, alongside colorful add-ons like apple acid, basmati rice water, fresh beet juice, and fennel seed-infused pineapple rum.

Each of the signature cocktails are named after a spice: The sweet, bright Fenugreek is made with fenugreek-infused Calvados apple brandy with cider cordial and bee pollen tincture; the grassy and slightly bitter Mustard Seed includes black mustard seed–infused Suze Gentiane liqueur, banana liqueur, lemon juice, and egg white. For heat (of both kinds), the Chile de Arbol mixes reposado tequila, shiitake mushroom-infused mezcal, Mexican chocolate, chile de arbol, and sesame, served hot with a cool, creamy foam on top.

Snacks like flatbread with curry goat cheese with sliced red grapes and green apples, golden raisins, and fresh parsley—or with melted manchego cheese, fig jam, and balsamic reduction—make great complements to the drinks. And with Mace’s mixologists constantly experimenting and expanding their menu with new flavors, there’s no doubt you’ll dig it.

hours

Mon–Fri 5 PM–2 AM; Sat–Sun 4 PM–2 AM

price range

$7 (spiced nuts) to $11 (fig jam and manchego flatbread)
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