Best known for its charming basque district, innovative college football team and easy access to the outdoors, Boise is also earning a well-deserved reputation as a place to get one hell of a cocktail. Planning a trip to Treefort? Heading over for the first rounds of the NCAA tournament? Just looking for a great food and drink scene that’s not a pretentious mess? Hello Boise.
Due Diligence, from The Modern Hotel & Bar: A great way to start any night – or afternoon, we’re not judging – this gin and Averna concoction is made with wild hyssops from just outside of town. (Note, The Modern Hotel & Bar does an annual foraging collaboration with local brewery Woodland Empire. It’s always good to ask what’s their most recent love child. It’s usually delicious.)
Denim Blazer, from Press & Pony: Think of the Flaming Moe, but delicious and highly drinkable. The craftsmen and craftswomen at the Press & Pony caramelize bitters with Bulleit Bourbon and a coffee simple syrup to create the perfect warm pick-me-up drink on a cold day.
Basil Instinct, from Bardenay: Is it a mojito? A margarita? A basil gin & tonic? Who cares, it’s fantastic. Made with Bardenay’s own gin – Bardenay claims fame as the nation’s first restaurant-distillery concept – the Basil Instinct includes Patron Citronge, pressed margarita and sour mixes, and of course, fresh basil.
Natural Remedy, from the Red Feather Lounge: You’re getting two glorious tips in one here. First, eat brunch at the Red Feather. Their fried chicken on a biscuit is pretty much a cure-all for all of life’s problems AND there’s not much of a wait yet because it’s more of a cocktail lounge than a breakfast joint in most folks’ eyes. Two, order the Natural Remedy – Hello bourbon, ginger, strawberry, honey, lemon, cayenne and turmeric! – and get ready to rock the day.
Smoke & Thyme, from The Gas Lantern Drinking Company: Great name, great drinks. One of Boise’s newer dens dedicated to the dark arts of cocktail making, the Gas Lantern expertly uses a food smoker and wood chips to add just a hint of smoky deliciousness. The Gas Lantern’s signature drink, the Smoke & Thyme incorporates smoked lemons, fresh thyme, Elijah Craig bourbon and sugar, all briefly smoked with oak chips.
Man in the Yellow Hat, from the Wylder: Why it took this long for craft cocktails to go with craft pizza is beyond us. The Wylder, Boise’s newest – and arguably hippest – pizza joint also offers up some stunning cocktails. Case in point, a rye whiskey drink that’s mixed subtly with banana tea and walnut bitters. Simple, creative and wholly original. It pretty much sums up Boise’s burgeoning food and drink scene.