Mace is housed in the space that was formerly occupied by Louis 649. Greg Boehm (Boilermaker) is joined by co-owners Zach Sharaga and Nico de Soto in adding Mace to the NYC cocktail scene. Would it bring something new and exciting to the already crowded cocktail arena?
One wall is lined with jars of spices and the whole room is bathed in warm incandescent light. The front has a few select tables looking out the large window onto 9th St and the back has several low tables for a low-key romantic date or get there early and snag a few for a larger group. The bathroom is clean and scented by a light vanilla aroma from a burning candle.
With the complexity of many of the drinks on the menu I expected this to be one of the longest waits for a cocktail I had ever experienced. To my surprise, soon after ordering our drinks were delicately placed before us. The speed and efficiency at which drinks were delivered were a welcome change from the sometimes agonizing wait at other established places in the city. The service was attentive but pleasantly absent when it appeared that you needed a little extra privacy, a balance which is often hard to strike for any establishment.
Drinks are named after the featured spice. Some of the spicesoin their own are powerful and intense but become balanced complimentary flavors once mixed into one of Nico de Sotos’s creations. The menu forces you to be bold. Be daring. Take a chance. It has some of the strangest combinations that meld together to create some fantastic cocktails. The cocoa is a easily drinkable dessert heaven and goes down far to quickly. This would serve as a great substitute to the traditional egg nog around the holidays. The Pandan is a silky smooth tropical paradise that reminds me of a spicy piña colada minus the heaviness. The cumin is nutty and citrusy and is the perfect complement to an outdoor bbq. The menu is an experiementation in pushing the boundaries of drinking that delivers some truly brilliant and delious drink offerings. But as with any true experimental pioneer you are bound to have some misses. For me the Paprika (blanco tequila, snap pea shrub, smoked paprika tincture, white verjus, champagne) was well made but the vinegar and vegetable flavor was just too strong and I couldn’t get through more than a few sips before I called it quits. My partner in crime was able to finish it but wasn’t sure if she could have more than one in a night. The other relatively minor issue is the size of the water glasses. Any real drinker knows the key to staving off the the effects of a hangover is to keep hydrated. It seemed like after 3 sips the water glasses were empty.
Miguel Trinidad, the man behind the kitchen at Boilermaker, as well as Jeepney and Maharlika, puts out a selection of small plates. It includes spice nuts, cheese and meat boards, and flatbreads topped with crab and avocado or bacon and fig jam. The fig and bacon flatbread is that perfect combination of sweet and salty resting on soft bread complemented by the sweet buttery flavor of the manchego cheese. The avocado and crab is rich but brightened by the tart zing of lemon and the sweet tatse of basil.
Mace New York combines the speed and efficiency of a packed club bar with the drink intricacy to match any high end cocktail bar in NYC. The esoteric ingredients (I’m looking at you grass) combine to make some truly great drinks. Sure there are a few misses but these flaws are outweighed by the rest of the menu. So go ahead pick a spice and take a journey through drinks around the world.
The Mix Lab Recommendations
Cocoa: banana & roasted cocoa nibs infused prata cachaca, pecan orgeat, olive oil, salt, egg
Pandan: Dark Trinidad Overproof Rum, Jamaican Rum, Batavia Arrack infused with Pandan Leaves, Clarified Milk, Clarified Pineapple Juice, Clarified Lime Juice, Aman Black Tea, Coconut Water, Ginger Juice, 8 Spices
Grass: White Tea-Infused Mizu Shochu, Grass Cordial
Flatbread: Bacon and Fig Jam
649 East 9th St
New York, NY 10009