In Your Cocktail: The Mercury Room

The Through Sfumato cocktail. Find the recipe below. Photo by Aaron Leimkuehler

The latest cocktail experience from the creators of The Monarch Bar and Verdigris is out of this world, transporting guests from the streets of Kansas City into a galaxy of glowing stars. The Mercury Room, located on the 14th floor of the Reverb apartment building in the Crossroads, features floor-to-ceiling windows and a patio offering spectacular views of the downtown skyline.

Thousands of LED lights strung throughout the bar and reflected by the windows, floors and tabletops create the impression you’re floating in space, an effect that’s both mesmerizing and a little disorienting. There’s a sense of being in-between states that reflects the bar’s namesakes: Mercury, the metal known for shifting between a liquid and solid, and the Roman god, who served as a mediator between mortals and the divine.

Mercury was also the god of commerce, and drinks at his bar don’t come cheap. Each person pre-pays $30 for their spot, which covers the cost of a Mercury Room cocktail. Dress to impress—the dress code advises cocktail attire, and frankly, you’ll want to pull out all the stops for a setting this grand. Reservations must be made in advance, the earlier the better—weekend seatings at the intimate bar can be snatched up weeks in advance.

Once you’re there, getting a drink at The Mercury Room isn’t as simple as being presented with a glass; it’s an all-encompassing experience, which starts with an aperitif. Then comes the cocktail, followed by a small bite. The intentionality is unparalleled in Kansas City and complemented by the knowledgeable but unobtrusive staff.

Part of The Mercury Room’s appeal is undeniably its atmosphere, which is unlike anything else in Kansas City. But it’s a testament to the bar team that the cocktails match the level of excitement all those dazzling lights inspire.

The debut menu features a selection of drinks that would send the most well-versed barflies to Google, researching ingredients like osmanthus—a flowering plant used alongside Austrian orange wine and rosa wine apertivo in the Chiaroscuro. While the components seem intimidating on the page, they’re eminently drinkable in the glass.

So, what exactly goes into a $30 cocktail, beyond those unexpected ingredients? Lots of time and attention paid to each step of the process. Take the Through Sfumato, perhaps the most daring cocktail on the Mercury Room debut menu. A blend of bourbon, bitter liqueurs, and madeira, every element is combined to achieve a refined and unique taste.

Bar manager Thomas Petrucci makes use of specialized techniques and quality ingredients that perfect the flavor and texture of the drink. That includes infusing saffron into angostura bitters and steeping fresh bay leaves, dill, rosemary, and tarragon in madeira. Petrucci also crafts a rich demerara gomme syrup through a process that takes upward of 12 hours, which is then combined with lemon powder, Becherovka Herbal Bitter Liqueur and Meletti Amaro.

Feeling ambitious? The recipe below is adapted for home bartenders.

Through Sfumato

Combine the following ingredients and store in freezer:

  • .25 ounce Fernet Vallet
  • .5 ounce Herbed rainwater madeira
  • .5 ounce Lemon Bechetti
  • 1 ounce Yellowstone Single Barrel Bourbon
  • Dash of Saffron Angostura Bitters

To serve: Torch a 1 cm x 4 cm lemon peel until burnt and place a frozen rocks glass upside down on top of the peel to trap the smoke. Pour cocktail from freezer into glass from high above to add subtle aeration to the cocktail. Using a sharp knife, gently shave ice on the surface.

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