The big changes are finished, but the evolution continues over at Uncorked at 18 Market Square. Now flourishing in its new guise as an upscale book and vinyl bar, with a diverse selection of tasty small plates and an even more impressive selection of vino, Uncorked has undergone a whole-scale reimagining.
Of course, Uncorked has always been a first-rate stopover for bar guests, with a range of liquor, beer, and specialty drink selections to complement its stellar wine list. Add to all that the new specialty whiskey bar, which debuted in June in the erstwhile Green Room, now home to Uncorked bookshelves and the house turntables.
“Whiskey will always be trending, especially in America,” says Uncorked Manager and Head Barmistress Erica Casey. “It’s a national pastime. And new manufacturers are always pressing the envelope, trying to forge new ways of making better whiskey.”
What’s more, says Casey, whiskey-making isn’t just a southern thang anymore. “There’s new whiskey coming out of places like New York and Colorado,” she says. “Colorado is really coming up in the whiskey world. (See Stranahan’s and Breckendridge and Leopold Bros., to name just a few, for deets.)
“You can look at whiskey and wine in the same way, in certain respects. There are so many regional differences in how they’re made in one place versus another. Different soils, different flavor profiles. Whiskey can taste different according to the water you’re using to make it, or according to the ratios of the grains that you use.”
So what’s in the highball at the new Whiskey Bar? “I wanted to feature more craft brands, like Rittenhouse Rye, some stuff that’s harder to come by, like Elmer T. Lee,” Casey says. “But we’ll have all of the old standards, too, not just the craft brands.”
In conjunction with the new Whiskey Bar, Uncorked has also unveiled a new menu of seasonal specialty drinks, including a number of new whiskey cocktails, plus a few interesting variations on some existing favorites.
“Whiskey drinks are really fun to watch being made,” Casey says. “There are finer points to every drink and every drink recipe, whether it be crushed ice or smoking the glasses or shaken vs. stirred. We have three different ways to make an Old Fashioned — the same ingredients but three different styles of presentation. We’ve got three different Old Fashioned on the specialty menu, and five whiskey or Scotch cocktails.”
And Casey says all of Uncorked’s staff members will be as well-versed in whiskey as they are now in vino. “Our servers will be trained to help people know the differences between the whiskeys on our menu,” she says. “We want to help people discover new things, help them discover new tastes.”