5 Questions for the Bartender

. September 26, 2014.
editeric

After spending a lot of time in NYC in the early 2000s drinking at great cocktail bars like Milk & Honey, Eric Farrell learned drinks could be more than intoxicating; they could be delicious, too. And after 12 years of working at Zingerman’s as an importer of fine foods, all the while mixing drinks at home from old cocktail books, Eric Farrell switched gears and opened The Bar 327 at Braun Court. Next month the bar celebrates its third year of delivering tasty drinkables to thirsty bargoers. Farrell took some time to let us into his world. 

What’s your favorite Ann Arbor bar (other than 327) and why? 

Probably Casey’s Tavern. They have the best burger in town, and it has been my neighborhood bar for most of my time in Ann Arbor. People know me there. Runner-up is The Alley Bar. I go there when I want to disappear.

What’s the most underrated spirit and why? 

I think there are probably far too many overrated, overused, and over-portioned spirits. Underrated is tough. Not technically a spirit, but I’ll go with Angostura Bitters. They’ve been around for almost 200 years and are the workhorse of the cocktail industry. Lately I’ve experienced people poo-pooing them, but they are irreplaceable.

What cocktail trend is completely overrated? 

Techniques and whatnot: Smoked cocktails, ridiculous Bloody Mary garnishes, setting fire to everything that doesn’t run away, bacon-infused whatever.

What’s the wildest thing you’ve ever seen happen in a bar?

I once stopped a bar fight at Old Town by putting someone in a full-nelson. I was there with some friends and a girl I was trying to impress. Another friend of mine was serving and kind of got caught in the middle of it. I didn’t want to see her get hurt so I jumped up and, through a reflex I didn’t know I had, I put the instigator in a full-nelson. It was so abrupt, both guys stopped immediately. I sat down. The aforementioned girl looked at me and said “um, wow.” We all went back to drinking. 

What’s your preferred hangover cure? 

A spicy Bloody Mary (or a breakfast cup) with a yellow fizzy beer-back, water, juice (fresh grapefruit or tomato juice) coffee, sometimes a Coca~Cola and a good breakfast sandwich. I like having 4 or 5 glasses at a time on my brunch table. 

What is everyone ordering at 327 these days? 

A popular one right now is “The Last Letter,” a slight variation on “The Last Word.” which was invented in Detroit in the early 20th century. It’s herbal and complex while still being refreshing for the end of summer.

Trending

Domino’s Farms Aids Ann Arbor’s Need for Office Space

Domino’s Pizza and Arbor Research are both launching new office building projects at Domino’s Farms. Domino’s Pizza is creating a 33,000-square-foot building on the north side of Domino’s Farms, expanding to their current space. Arbor Research is creating a new 49,500-square-foot headquarters building on the east side of Domino’s Farms. Both buildings should be completed

A Physician’s Perspective on Legalized Cannabis

On Tuesday, November 6th, Michigan became the 10th state to legalize cannabis for recreational use. Ten years ago, we had become the 13th state to legalize Cannabis for medical use. I voted for the medical cannabis law years ago because, in my view, cannabis is not a dangerous product, and too many people were being imprisoned for its use. At that time, however, I did not subscribe to the argument that there were legitimate medical uses for cannabis. How things have changed.

Tiny Expo at Ann Arbor District Library—A Curated Holiday Gift Fair with Flair

The Tiny Expo is a gem of an indie arts and crafts fair for vendors with original and unexpected products that make wonderful gifts but may not be an obvious fit for Ann Arbor’s mainstream art fairs. Shoppers who crave artistic, high quality products with diverse price points will find a rich variety of unique, handmade products to choose from.

New Tenants in Downtown Ypsilanti

Formerly long-vacant buildings in Downtown Ypsilanti are experiencing revitalization as small businesses and nonprofits are rapidly filling up spaces. Michigan Advocacy Program (MAP), a nonprofit organization that, “provides access to the justice systems for those that need it most,” recently purchased the Smith Furniture building at 15 S Washington Street which became their headquarters. Decode