There's nothing "new school" about Knight's, whose bar displays a distinctly more serious-looking selection of liquor than the typical Ann Arbor drinking hole. With more dark amber spirits than clear vodkas or brightly glowing flavored liqueurs, the Dexter Road restaurant was until recently one of the rare venues in town whose barback stocked more bourbons than flavors of Pucker.
But lately, Old Fashioneds ... aren't. Mixed drinks inspired by historic American recipes--call them old-timey, classic, or craft cocktails--are finding their way to Ann Arbor's hippest new bars. And even at Knight's, young folk are ordering their grandfathers' drinks.
"None of them are new," says an older customer sitting at Knight's bar, sipping cranberry juice and vodka from a fourteen-ounce rock glass at 3 p.m. on a Tuesday. She declined to give her name but shared that she had worked as a New York City bartender for years in the 1970s. The gentleman sitting next to her was drinking a martini from the same style of tumbler. "These are just old cocktails from the 1920s," she says. "What they're trying to do is resurrect that era."
Are they ever.