Just a couple years ago, it would have been crazy to go down to Chinatown for anything but Chinese food. But with the coming of underground bars and secret eateries, there’s no better hideout that this cluttered district strewn with narrow alleyways and shops tucked above and below ground.
Lodged underneath a dodgy warehouse sign on the hinge of Doyer street, Apotheke is the most discrete mixology yet. It has the warm, dusky aura like most of its fellow mixologies to the north, but there’s an extra sense of covertness given its obscure location.
Inside, if you head over before the nightly crowd that hits around 10 pm, it’s a fairly open space with a few small tables that line the walls.
The drinks on the menu are grouped in types of therapeutic treatments, but more important are the ingenious sets of ingredients that make you want to try one of everything.
I started with the Jasmine Sour, a jasmine-infused vodka mixed with pungent fresh ginger juice and sweet candied ginger, topped with foamy egg white. While I would still prefer the Earl Grey Tea with egg white at Pegu Club, the ginger gives it a wonderfully spicy touch.
Jay started with the Five Points, with crushed grapes and sweet Italian rum. But his next drink, the Deal Closer, was even better, with fresh mint and slices of cucumber floating in a vodka that’s infused with some sort of “local chinatown aphrodisiac.”
But my second drink ended being up my favorite. Dr. Ruth had a beautifully light rosemary-infused vodka with intensly flavorful and aromatic strawberries and lime, topped with rose champagne. It’s incredibly fruity with a fresh spritzy texture.
The one downside was really the food. Not that it was bad, but rather exorbitantly expensive considering you can get similar items down the block for a buck or two. Their bar snacks are very limited, but not something they market to begin with.
Being a couple drinks in, it’s just nice at times to have something to munch on. The pumpkin dumplings with whipped cream can hit the spot for those looking for something sweet. They’re nothing to write home about but still offers up something more unique than the steamed buns.
All in all, drinks and bites were both thoughtfully prepared and immaculately presented. While it may not be the most convenient venue to reach, you’ll likely find a cocktail here for you that’s unlike anything you’ll find throughout the island.