Birch was serving good food right out of the gate. That was expected, given Chef Brendan Collins’ skill in the kitchen. Sadly, the bar couldn’t keep pace. I couldn’t even get through one drink, a blood orange Blood and Sand. Of course, part of growing as a restaurant involves plugging holes, and Chef Collins quickly upgraded by bringing in market-driven bar manager Gabriella Mlynarczyk, who previously worked at restaurants like Eva and ink.
Mlynarczyk clearly has a good handle on building a cocktail program that complements eclectic food, which is a skill many talented bartenders never need to grasp. She shops at farmers markets to construct drinks that are visually arresting, flavorful, and exceedingly humble. After all, she doesn’t even bother to name drinks. Instead, they appear as numbers.
I was particularly enamored with Cocktail #3, a vivid orange drink blended with Beefeater gin, Aperol, cardamom and carrot with would no doubt draw a hutch of rabbits. The garnish changes depending on what Mlynarczyk finds at the market. In this case, the topper was an aromatic combo of fennel and thyme flowers.