It’s taken the staff at Julep (4141 Pennsylvania Avenue, Suite 104) three days to input the whiskey selections into the point-of-sale system at the cocktail club. So this is one list that can be your bucket list, bourbon drinkers. The whiskey-centered bar opens Friday at 5 p.m. and Beau Williams, who owns the joint with wife Keely Edgington, gave us a walk through the menu (designed by Barkley’s Adam Elwell) in between training sessions this week.
Williams will be joined by a talented trio of bartenders — Justin Richardson, (formerly of Manifesto), Scott Tipton (the Kill Devil Club) and Katy Wade (The Rieger, Manifesto, 715). He points to two cocktails, The Monarch and the Garden & Gun, that might grab drinkers from the get go.
“The Monarch is a quintessential cocktail. It’s an homage to the Kansas City Monarchs,” Williams says. “And it’s this stirred, boozy whiskey cocktail that is a riff on a Manhattan.”
The key to the cocktail are a few dashes of the Olive Heights Trading Co.’s Braeburn Belle Bitters, which are out of California but made by Kansas City native Scott Winnie.
“They took the drink in a direction that I wasn’t expecting, but in a good way,” Williams says. “The bitters are delicate, but nice and spicy. It’s a sipping style drink that I think will be right up a lot of people’s alley.”
The drink, in the coming weeks, will also help serve as a launch for Dressed to the Nines — a fundraiser for the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum that involves wearing your Sunday best to a Kansas City Royals home game on May 18.
As for a drink befitting spring, Williams singles out the Garden & Gun — Julep’s take on the classic gin cocktail The Bee’s Knees.
“We infused honey with lavender and then we’ve got these Regan’s Orange Bitters that are spicy and bright. Then we garnish it with an edible flower. We’ve got these hibiscus flowers that are candied and preserved that we’re thinking about throwing in the bottom of the glass,” Williams says.
The food menu at Julep takes a cue from classic Southern dishes and was designed by John Brogan, the chef de cuisine at Rye. Williams wanted the food to be approachable and simple to execute.
“I can boil a hot dog or two, but I couldn’t make much happen in the kitchen. John’s been a Godsend,” Williams says.
He sees patrons digging into shrimp po’boy and pimento cheese. Since he’ll be behind the bar, Williams has brought in a pair of chefs to help run the kitchen. David Allison, who regulars would recognize from Happy Gillis, and Chris Robb, formerly of Pizzabella and Chefburger, are on staff for the open.[Images via Julep]