Where We’ve Been Drinking: Noir in Harvard Square
July in Boston is lovely. It felt particularly lovely to us on our most recent visit, because we’d come from the ‘uninhabitable swampland’–to quote a friend–that is DC in high summer. We wanted to soak up as much of the beautiful New England summer as we possibly could on our short visit. Unfortunately (since so much of the time the weather in Boston is not very lovely), patios can be a bit rare. Patios where good cocktails are served are even more rare. Patios in good locations with good cocktails even more. That’s what makes Noir so special. Right in the middle of Harvard Square, just off the river, they serve solid cocktails on a big patio; and, to top it all, somehow, despite everything Noir has to recommend it, it’s usually not even very hard to find a table. ‘How in the world is John Harvard’s Brewhouse busier than here?’ is something we’ve asked ourselves more than once.
So, if you find yourself in Cambridge on a beautiful summer evening and you love cocktails, drop by Noir for a round or two.
Photos: Noir Bar
What We Ordered
The Inner Circle: Amaro Averna, rye whiskey, acid phosphate, rhubarb bitters
The Blue Gardenia: Rum, blueberry and thyme grenadine, lemon, Amaro Montenegro, lavender bitters
What We Thought
First of all, how did we miss the announcement that July was ‘Use Acid as a Cocktail Ingredient’ month? (see here and here). This is definitely something we’ll have to keep an eye on. We’re tempted to say we’re not convinced, but three great acid-employing cocktails give us pause.
Today’s entry, the Inner Circle, is a thick, inky, dark brown. Perhaps it wasn’t exactly the most appropriate drink to celebrate a summer evening patio, but we’re not sorry we ordered it. It’s pleasantly bitter and spicy. The rhubarb bitters are especially a nice touch: a slightly hard to place, but quite pleasing flavor.
The Blue Gardenia didn’t grab our attention in the way the unusual Inner Circle did, but it on the other hand was perfectly suited to summer. We found ourselves trading the drinks back and forth, unable to decide which we were enjoying more: ‘This one is so interesting,’ ‘But this one is delicious.’
We couldn’t quite tell whether the blueberries in the grenadine were in addition to or in replacement of pomegranate (in which case, wouldn’t it just be a blueberry and thyme syrup?), but it doesn’t matter all that much. The combination of berries, herbs, and flowers gave this drink a refreshing fresh out of the garden flavor.
Photo: Boston Eater