In its seven-year lifespan, Mace has moved location on three occasions. Each venue has been slightly larger than the previous to accommodate the growing number of patrons who want to imbibe its genre-defining drinks. Launched by star-tenders Greg Boehm, who opened Cocktail Kingdom, and beverage director Nico de Soto, who has highly regarded bars in his home country of France as well as Spain and the US, Mace is founded on the principle of creating unique drinks with surprising flavour combinations, executed through highly technical processes that are conveyed to guests in a manner that is easy to understand.
This ability to communicate grandiose ideas simply is one of the reasons why Mace collected the Siete Misterios Best Cocktail Menu Award at North America’s 50 Best Bars 2022. The award was introduced into 50 Best’s awards programme last year, where any bar anywhere in North America was invited to enter their cocktail menu with a chance of being named best in the continent. The winner was selected by 50 Best’s 28 global Academy Chairs, who were asked to grade menus on a range of criteria, including: design and layout; storytelling; innovation; range of drinks; sustainability; and how the menu communicates the bar’s identity.
Of all entrants in North America, Mace received the most accumulative points for its menu, Mace 3.1. Simple botanical sketches of ingredients belie the sophisticated techniques at play in the glass. De Soto is credited with designing the vast majority of cocktails on the menu, which run the gamut of unusual flavour profiles that combine to delicious and innovative effect. The bar ostensibly identifies itself by combining ingredients that at first seem diametrically opposed, but when exposed to skill, technique and balance, become perfect bedfellows.
A liquid tribute to the bar’s moniker, the Mace includes Italian orange liqueur, aquavit, beet juice, orange acid, young Thai coconut cordial and mace mist. Frankincense works to demonstrate the bar’s ability to pair savoury flavours with sweet, featuring brown butter- and cep-infused bourbon, walnut liqueur and frankincense smoke. Wasabi + Cilantro is a take on the much-maligned 1980s classic the Miami Vice, using wasabi-infused and soy-washed rum, strawberry, vanilla lactic syrup, lime, angelica root, bacon-washed rum, pineapple, coconut, plantain, lime and cilantro (coriander). All are unusual, innovative, ingredient- and process-heavy – and altogether delicious.
The physical menu itself is a work of art. Specially commissioned illustrations highlight each serve’s base spice, with a description of the vessel used to house the drink. The only other information provided is how the cocktail is prepared – shaken, stirred or built – and where the spice finds its origin. It’s a symbiotic experience that tells the bar’s story with minimal words on the page, allowing the ingredients and de Soto’s skill in liquid alchemy to sing.
Congratulations to Mace, the inaugural winner of the Siete Misterios Best Cocktail Menu Award for its drinks list Mace 3.1.