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The Silvertone

From Midnight Rambler, in Dallas

By November 2014Comments

Photograph by Adam Voorhes

Texas has a new mixological pilgrimage site, and it’s in a hotel basement. Midnight Rambler is the handiwork of Chad Solomon and Christy Pope, craft-cocktail pioneers whose fingerprints can be seen on bar programs across the globe. And now they’ve pulled out all the stops in Dallas with a gorgeously curated space in the artsy Joule Hotel.

The brilliance of Midnight Rambler is that it operates at once in the past, present, and future. A swanky lounge—old-school vinyl playing on state-of-the-art equipment, lustrous wood-paneled walls, vintage furnishings—belies the presence of a Willy Wonka–style laboratory with apparatuses that would make a chemistry teacher giddy (Buchi Rotavapor, anyone?). Classic cocktails are re-imagined using modernist culinary techniques in a futuristic apothecary the likes of which can be found in only a handful of bars in the country.

Because Midnight Rambler eschews over-the-top presentations in favor of behind-the-scenes flavor engineering, the Silvertone doesn’t seem all that remarkable: it’s basically a dry martini, a drink that has been parsed so many times that there wouldn’t seem to be much more room for improvement. But along with the gin, dry vermouth, and orange bitters, Solomon, in a subtle act of genius, adds Crazy Water No. 4, an alkaline water bottled in the North Texas town of Mineral Wells. Salinity and mineral content are on his mind right now, and many of the bar’s cocktails get a little splash of weird science. “It’s like going from black and white to Technicolor,” says Solomon. Garnished with onions that have been cured in sage, coriander seed, chipotle, and grapefruit peel, the Silvertone is a dry martini with a decidedly Texas terroir.

SILVERTONE (Vodka)

3 ounces (90 ml) Hangar One Vodka
1 ounce (30 ml) Crazy Water No. 4 mineral water
1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) Dolin dry vermouth
1 dash orange bitters

Stir briskly in an ice-filled shaker, strain into a martini glass, and garnish with two cocktail onions.

SILVERTONE (Gin)

2 1/2 ounces (75 ml) Beefeater 24 gin
1 ounce (30 ml) Crazy Water No. 4 mineral water
1/2 oz (15 ml) Dolin dry vermouth
1 dash orange bitters

Stir briskly in an ice-filled shaker, strain into a martini glass, and garnish with two cocktail onions.

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