The new tasting room at Twisted Path Distillery endeavors to make cocktail-imbibing more of an exploration.
Twisted Path Distillery’s new tasting room in the Lincoln Warehouse (2018 S. First St.) replaces the smaller one preceding it – the speakeasy you may remember as Dock 18 Cocktail Lab. Twisted Path owner Brian Sammons announced in late 2017 that he’d end the confusion caused by having a tasting room with not only a different name but run by the staff of fellow warehouse tenant Bittercube Bitters.
With Dock 18 changing its format to pop-ups (still run by Bittercube) at various locations, Sammons has been able to concentrate on building a tasting room that more closely reflects Twisted Path’s focus on experimental and limited-release cocktails. And he’s achieved that. The warehouse location has an easy industrial charm, with an open ceiling, glass garage doors and loading dock converted into a stage for live music. Wood paneling and hanging Edison bulbs add warmth to the L-shaped bar, and table seating is available as well. The laid-back ambiance and minimal decor make it easier to focus on the adventurous, ever-evolving menu.
Sammons says the team has “gone even further down the rabbit hole in terms of experimenting.” Mixing their small-batch gins, vodkas and rums with house-made liqueurs, bitters and infusions, the staff concocts some truly inventive (and delicious) cocktails – such as the bright, citrusy Jack of All Trades, made with overproof vodka and carrot-ginger shrub. They also add twists to classics, tweaking bitters and spirits for a reimagined bloody mary. Look for newbies like Chocolate Rain, with cacao nib-infused rum, Morita pepper-cinnamon syrup and bitters.
The presentation of the drinks is sleek and simple, like the tasting room itself. As a garnish, cocktails are spritzed with atomized guava, star anise and other flavors infused in-house. “We’re really breaking down the wall between distilling and mixology,” says Sammons, who worked as a CIA officer and criminal prosecutor before opening the distillery in 2014.
The menu changes about once a month, and cocktails are $8, with a few exceptions. In the summer, Sammons plans to open the garage doors and serve lower-proof session cocktails for guests to sip in the sun.
Hours: Wed-Thurs 5 p.m.-11p.m.; Fri 5 p.m.- midnight; Sat 1 p.m-1 a.m.