Hump Day Cocktail: The Ekvator at Provisions
They're using science tools to mix the drinks. There's a beaker and an eye dropper and careful measurements, but then there's the rhubarb and the garlic honey and Etta James playing over the speakers giving the place a homey, easy feel. Science meets soul.
Photos by Kaitlin Steinberg As the guy next to me said, "Even the bartenders are totally hot." Noted.
I'm drinking an Ekvator, described as bready but clean, but all I taste is clean, almost chemically so. You could scrub tiles with this genever drink, and yet a piece of pickled rhubarb mellows it out, makes more easy and comfortable. Science and soul, baby.
Just after happy hour on a Tuesday, the small bar at Provisions is full of people in pinstriped blazers, khaki pants and brown loafers sipping on Old Fashioneds. I'm the lone outlier in leggings and flannel with my martini-esque drink. Also I haven't slept in two days. I'm the (rapidly becoming) drunk at a bar of professionals whiling away the day over a stiff drink. I'm just sloppy.
As the bar fills up, the clientele continues to evolve. There are now people standing around waiting to eat at The Pass, Provisions's upscale neighbor. I kind of wish I was one of them, dressed to the nines, preparing for a nine-course meal with wine pairings. I'm going to go home and eat refrigerator pizza with my cat. Of course, it's my job to eat out, so a dinner at home with the cat ain't so bad.
I turn to the guy sitting next to me.
"Have you ever played an instrument?"
A weird question, I know, but a good conversation starter.
"I have congas in my house," he says. He's wearing khakis and brown loafers. "I got really baked and thought it would be a good idea to buy congas. Ask me how many times I've touched them over the last month...that's a different story."
Neither of us are musically inclined. I used to play the viola and failed miserably.
"...I know how to play the olympic theme song on the trumpet," he adds when I look disappointed. "but it's sitting in my parents' house." Man, I hope he doesn't live with his parents. His loafers imply otherwise.
I'm told it's a busy crowd here this evening for Tuesday, but Wednesdays are even better. The happy hour cocktail on Wednesdays is the White Lady, a holdover from the 1920s, when Prohibition was in full force and bathtub gin was the liquor of choice.
The Ekvator. Looks like water. Tastes like science and soul.
"Wednesdays are really popular because of the White Lady," bartender Lainey Collum explains.
I'll be back. But in the future, I'll be dressed up. Pinstripes. Loafers. Just you wait.
1 ounce Genever
1 ounce Aquavit
.75 ounce Cocchi Americano
.25 ounce dry vermouth infused with caraway seeds
4 drops rhubarb bitters
Stir and garnish with candied rhubarb.