What to drink, what to drink?

Aside from interviewing management candidates, managing construction, testing recipes, and designing menus, planning our beverage offerings has been an adventure.

Never short on ambition, we’ve taken on a challenge in integrating old traditions and recipes with contemporary style and senses. You’ll see it in our cocktail menu – timeless drinks like Sazeracs, Pink Ladies made with homemade grenadine, and Gin Fizz with fresh-squeezed sours contrast with contemporary offerings like our tea menu, which will bring the fine art of performance tea to Andersonville, and updates the tradition of sweet tea in the afternoon with options such as Rose Black tea sweetened with house pomegranate syrup or African Rosebush sweetened with house ginger syrup.

I’m a big fan of wine. So, in the midst of all the items on my daily list, I had to make time to look over hundreds of wineries before even beginning to construct the wine list. I’m at about 60 hours on the wine list alone in the last week, and I love it! I hope you love he results, too. While I do have the proverbial “Champagne Taste,” I am obsessive about not overpaying for wine, and I am obsessive that you don’t either, at least not in my restaurant.

We’ll start the list at about 22 bottles, ten by the glass, and hopefully we can grow it from there. We’ll start at around $20 a bottle and cap it out around $60. Every last wine will be delicious, I can personally promise that! We refuse to engage in the type of pornographic markups you see in many restaurant wine lists around town. Yes, it’ll cost more than in a liquor store (if you could find these wines in the liquor store,) but we’re also serving it to you with linens, and washing the dishes. What we won’t engage in is buying a mediocre wine, overpay for it ourselves, then multiply the price times five for what we charge you. This practice is why I almost never buy wine in a restaurant. I am creating a list that I would buy from, and believe me, I like my wine world class, and I don’t like to pay a lot for it. I hope you’ll tell me if you ever feel like you didn’t get your money’s worth, because it’s unacceptable for you to ever feel shortchanged.

So thousands of potential wines get whittled down to a couple dozen. It’s tedious, but it’s fun, too. Some unexpected gems from the Languedoc-Roussillion in the South of France, as well as Austria and Italy, round out a list that also travels south from Washington State to Chile and east to New Zealand to find the most delicious wines for realistic prices. What’s been the big surprise is that Europe, in spite of the weakness of the dollar, continues to provide great value. Yes, the top growths in Burgundy and Bordeaux can command obscene prices, but look just over the hill and there’s a gem for a fraction of the price. To me, it seems Napa might be the most overpriced appellation. Still, we managed to find a Napa for you, but you’ll have to come to Big Jones to find out what it is…