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Sipping 'Modern Classics' at Bourbon and Butter

The new (old) world of cocktails has our heads spinning, but in a good way. With the holidays here, meeting up with friends for a drink takes on a whole new meaning these days.

We noticed at the swanky Bourbon and Butter, not only can we try a House Original signature cocktail, but we can take a mini trip without ever leaving the barstool.

The "Modern Classics" section of the menu is devoted to drinks from other famous bars, like in New York City.

Tony Rials, who is in charge of menu direction and the beverage program at Bourbon and Butter, explained.

“Initially, we had a section of the menu for the drinks we created and a separate heading for the ‘classics.’ Four years ago it seemed important to really showcase a properly made Manhattan, Negroni or Sazarac for example,” he said.

Tony Rials, bar manager for Bourbon and Butter, makes Glass Case of Emotion. It's reminiscent of the Negroni cocktail from the 1930s. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)

Rials happily notes that today when folks visit bars and restaurants around Buffalo, getting a well-made classic is standard.

“It's terrific to see. I no longer felt a section for classics was the best use of menu space. Rather, guests are always asking what bars to visit when the travel to other cities, so we decided to showcase drinks from groundbreaking bars around the country,” Rials said.

So now at Bourbon and Butter guests will find drink creations from bars with exotic sounding names, like Please Don’t Tell and Employees Only.

“Many of the bars and restaurants that we feature have published cocktail books or are more than happy to share their recipe with us. There’s so much creatively happening on the beverage side of our industry, why not share that with our guests?” said Rials.

The drinks he chooses often showcase a change in style or technique.

“Please Don’t Tell’s 'Bacon Old Fashioned' was one of the first, if not the creator, of the fat-washing technique. And Dead Rabbit, aside from winning every award possible and being the most talked about bar in the world right now, has a very unique style. Its Sherry Cocktail shows a very unique and directionally different approach to flavors and the use of spirits,” he said.

To that end, we think the only way see what Rials is talking about is to belly up and order that Part Time Lover and taste for yourself.

Bourbon and Butter is located at 391 Washington St. in the Hotel @ the Lafayette. Call 253.6453 or visit

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