On the corner of East Market in downtown New Albany, tucked into what was once a 19th century hotel, Emily Sego is stirring, shaking, stirring again, now pouring in a rhythmic dance, the evidence of a professional at work. If this were an art studio, perhaps she would be working with colorful oils and acrylics. But this is the Lobby Bar of Brooklyn and the Butcher, and Emily’s canvas is a rich, impossibly amber cocktail called The Millennial Manhattan.
“I’ve had so many people tell me this is the best cocktail they’ve ever had,” Emily says, pushing the drink towards me. It smells of roasted coffee and a hint of caramel. “It’s a cocktail built to showcase flavors with deep, rich profiles. Old Grandad, Fernet, and a huge espresso-infused vermouth that I spent a lot of time getting just right.”
Getting it right is something that Emily takes very seriously. Now the beverage director at Brooklyn and the Butcher, Emily’s cocktail menu is immense, unique, and full of surprises. “I think in all creative acts, we sometimes run into brick walls and wonder how to create something great. It’s easy to get frustrated,” she says, shaking up another cocktail – this one named Dreams of a Potion. “This particular drink took me weeks to conceptualize and execute. You have to trust the method and love the work.”
Dreams of a Potion finds itself in the Botany section of the menu, a collection of cocktails which feature herbaceous, botanic flavor profiles front and center. “These are my favorite drinks, personally. I love bright, effervescent flavors,” Emily said.
There’s also a section called Smoke, cocktails that feature literal smoke in their builds. Consider Stir Crazy, featuring Elijah Craig, St George Spiced Pear, sorghum, and cardamom & orange bitters. Just add smoke!
Then there’s the refreshing Vibrance section; think Sangria’s and Punch. Patio favorites like the Suit & Thai – a Thai Chili Infused Woodford Reserve based cocktail with ginger, pineapple, cilantro, coconut milk, and lemongrass demerara.
The menu rounds out with Stiff – those bold cocktails for the adventurous drinker, featuring The Butcher – fatwashed Old Forester with port, demerara, and angostura bitters. A signature classic at The Lobby Bar inside Brooklyn and the Butcher.
“I love finding out what people like and why they like them,” Emily said, explaining the different drinks of the menu. Her enthusiasm for the craft is, much like the drinks she serves, intoxicating. “That ability to truly connect with new people every day is what initially drew me to the business. I just love serving people and seeing them try new things.”
You can try all of Emily’s inventive new cocktails every night at Brooklyn and the Butcher.
View here full menu here.