Joe Raya’s passion for the craft of drink-making and tireless attention to detail has earned the Gin Joint a reputation as one of the country’s leading destinations for cocktail fans. It’s not just a matter of a guy making his own bitters and researching old pre-Prohibition drink recipes. We’re talking someone so dedicated he bought a Clinebell machine that makes ice in 300 pound blocks intended for ice sculptures, which he breaks down with a chainsaw and sledgehammmer. He smokes B-grade maple syrup to bring out its silky, buttery notes, then blends it into a smoked maple Manhattan that’s superbly rich and complex. The Gin Joint is a husband-and-wife operation with a small but dedicated crew. Joe mans the bar while MariElena Raya turns out an impressive array of small bites and treats. The warm soft pretzels with sriracha-laced cheese are always reliable, while the housemade beef jerky, tinged with ginger and chili, may well be the most intensely flavored bar snack ever. There’s a deep list of quality bourbons, scotches, and rums, but the real action is on the ever-rotating menu of cocktails that come straight from the Gilded Age. Wise imbibers turn to the “Bartender’s Choice” and pick two themes from the word bank — for example, sweet and strong, or bitter and smoky — and leave the rest up to the bow-tied gentlemen behind the bar. You never know quite what you’ll get, but it’s guaranteed to be delicious. —Robert Moss Dish (Winter 2013)

Restaurant Details

Classic cocktails, three types of ice, and a menu of compelling bar snacks and small plates (truffle-poached egg, pig in a pot).

Features: , ,
Hours: Dinner & Sun. Brunch. Opens at 5 p.m.
Price: $$$$
Mon.-Wed: 5pm-12am
Thurs.-Sat: 5pm-2am
Closed Sun.

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