First Sip at Backbar

When you order a drink at Backbar, they want you to know it's as fresh as can be.

By Leah Mennies | Boston Magazine |
Photograph by Ekaterina Smirnova.

Photograph by Ekaterina Smirnova.

When you order a drink at Backbar, the new cocktail spot next to (and from the team behind) Journeyman restaurant, they want you to know it’s as fresh as can be. “This lemon juice was squeezed 30 minutes ago!” a barman exclaims as he assembles the “Union Mule” ($11, below right), a refreshing, pear-infused take on the Moscow Mule. The bar staffers, led by Drink vet Sam Treadway, are eager to please, and they do. The “Model T” ($11, below left), a twist on a Manhattan using Jim Beam Black, Carpano Antica vermouth, Chartreuse, and cloves, is another retooled classic worth ordering (the name references the bar’s origins as a 1920s Ford dealership). And on a recent chilly evening, a bourbon-spiked hot cider special was soul-warming. Food was less so — a spartan “bartender’s platter” of charcuterie, crudo, and olives was tasty, but a terrible value at $30 for two people. Thankfully, Backbar also offers more wallet-friendly options, like fried pork cracklings ($4) and spicy caramel popcorn ($3). Opt for those and use the cash you save for another round of cocktails — you won’t be sorry.

9 Sanborn Ct., Somerville, 617-718-0249,

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