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Drink This Weekend Edition: Find uncommon drinks, eats and fun at The Fortune Teller Bar

December 14th 05:12pm, 2012

It’s not at every bar where you’ll encounter egg liqueur on the bar shelf, house-made Glühwein warming in a 1970s pea green Mirro-Matic percolator and Old Rasputin Imperial Stout on tap next to Stag. Then again, The Fortune Teller Bar, which opened a month ago at 2635 Cherokee St., isn’t any old bar.

The eclectic is what characterizes this new venture by owners Kristin Dennis (pictured, right), Matt Thenhaus (pictured, left) and Sam Coffey that’s fast becoming a gathering place on Cherokee Street. And that out-of-the-ordinary element at Fortune Teller extends from the drinks to the eats to the tarot card and palm readers perched near the storefront window on weekend evenings.

{Fortune Teller Manhattan and Mason Jar}

While the bartenders at Fortune Teller can make just about any cocktail, there is a seasonal list. The unifier for all 10 drinks is the use of high-quality, lesser known spirits and mixers, plus numerous house-made ingredients. Two drinks on this rotating list debut tonight: Mason Jar (pictured above, right) and Fortune Teller Manhattan (pictured above, left). The former is a vodka martini, but not like one you’ve had before. This briny version holds house-infused pickle vodka, dry vermouth and house-made lemon-hopped bitters (that took Dennis a year to make) with a pickled carrot slice swimming at the bottom. The Fortune Teller Manhattan does local J.J. Neukomm Whiskey justice as it is paired with Byrrh Grand Quinquina instead of sweet vermouth.

{Lekker and Wurzelkeller}

Manhattan and martini are at least names you can pronounce. Try Lekker and Wurzelkeller. The latter (pictured above, right), which means “root cellar” in German, is a Champagne cocktail tinted with beet syrup and zinged up with ginger liqueur. Lekker (pictured above, left) holds the aforementioned thick and rich egg liqueur plus bourbon and chocolate mole bitters. Although Dennis noted that “it takes a brave soul” to try Verpoorten Advocaat egg liqueur, if you’re in the mood for a sweet dessert drink that approaches the flavor of spiked eggnog, order the Lekker.

The wine list, although minimalist at six options, isn’t an afterthought, explained Dennis. “We have a riesling, but it’s a dry riesling; it isn’t sweet. We don’t have a cab or a merlot, but we do have a bonarda. I wanted to focus on flavor, not the grape.”

The beer list is Thenhaus’ project. He called his selection of eight taps and more than 30 beers bottled or canned “well-rounded as far as styles.” Draft beer, in fact, debuts this evening, with five taps dedicated to local craft breweries (currently Civil Life, Urban Chestnut, Schlafly, Perennial Artisan Ales and Four Hands). There will always be a tap handle for Old Rasputin Imperial Stout and one for heavy-seller Stag because, “We can’t keep Stag cans in stock,” said Thenhaus. About the juxtaposition of these highbrow-lowbrow beers: “We’re anti-elitist,” he responded. Among bottled brews, Thenhaus’ favorites include UCBC’s Zwickel; Founders’ Breakfast Stout; dark lagers like Aecht Schlenkerla Urbock and Ayinger Altbairisch Dunkel; and Lagunitas’ hoppy A Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ (pictured above from left to right).

Eating from the abbreviated snacks menu at Fortune Teller can be as adventurous as drinking there, such as when you order the pickled egg basket (pictured above), which is a trio of pickled eggs holding beet, curry and jalapeño flavors, served with spicy mustard and Sriracha.

Whether you’re in the mood to swig Stag, sip a complex whiskey cocktail, nosh on colored picked eggs or munch on pizza sourced from neighboring Master Pieza, you will find that, at Fortune Teller, whatever you choose, you’re going to have fun.

By Ligaya Figueras

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