DRINK LOCAL: In My Element – Elements Tapas Bar in Medford
Located on the corner of Front and Main Streets, Elements Tapas Bar is a highlight of Medford’s downtown. I went in on a fairly busy night, looking for a couple of signature cocktails. My server, Courtney, was incredibly helpful and steered me towards several cocktails I enjoyed.
I tried three drinks, two of theirs and a staple at a bar: their Grey Fly, a Maple Bourbon Rickie and, of course, a whiskey sour. All of the drinks were carefully crafted and it was apparent that just as much work went into conceptualizing the drink, as did making it. The Grey Fly (which, I assume, is a twist on a Grey Hound) was a delicious citrusy cocktail, made with Dry Fly Gin, a bit of elderberry from St. Germaine liqueur, tart and bitter from grapefruit and finally a refreshing topper of bubbles.
Second was their version of a Rickey, crafted with bourbon. While not unheard of to use bourbon, the cocktail (spirit, lime, soda water) is most often made with Gin, a spirit with more botanical flavors; lemongrass, juniper, licorice, coriander, etc. Personally, I’d never had it with bourbon because, quite frankly, a traditional Rickey with bourbon doesn’t sound that appealing. I quickly learned the err of my ways, because their Bourbon Rickey (spelled “Rickie”) was delightful. They start with Four Roses Bourbon, add a bit of Tuaca (Vanilla etc. flavored liqueur), maple simple syrup, squeeze of lime, shaken then strained into a martini glass.
Looking at all that sweetness, one can see it’s a far cry from the original Rickey. But they’ve done a great job at balancing the flavors; a bit sweet, yes, but not the kind that tastes like a hangover. The maple syrup adds a bit more depth to the flavor, where standard simple syrup would instead be overbearing. Tuaca provides a nice flavor profile that we attribute to “sweet” (vanilla) without tasting like Burnett’s flavored vodka. Finally, the lime citrus brightens the drink and contrasts those aforementioned flavors. Really, an amazing drink.
And, of course, that’s not the end of their specialties; there are over 150 to choose from. Their bartenders are crafted oriented; not just opening their premixed cocktails they got from the liquor store. Elements is a place you go when you want to be a bit fancy, when you want to try something new, or taste a classic expertly made. As an added bonus, if you’re looking for something fun to do in this weekend, they’re throwing their annual prohibition party on Saturday February 23 at 9 pm. Dress up in 20’s costumes (“or don’t”, they say) and enjoy their Prohibition era cocktails.
9 pm, Saturday, February 23
Elements Tapas Bar
4 pm – 12 am, Sunday – Thursday
4 pm – 1 am, Friday and Saturday
101 E Main St, Medford