In the ever-expanding city of Frisco, it's not hard to find a spot to grab a bite and a cocktail. But there's only one that allows patrons to take a step back in time with its Prohibition-era atmosphere and cocktails. While it is a relatively new spot, Bottled in Bond has been in the works for quite some time.
Jasin Burt, owner and operator of the Frisco cocktail parlour and kitchen, picked up his first bottle behind a bar when he was 21. Bottled in Bond, he says, is 18 years in the making. He was going to school when he had the idea but couldn't decide what he wanted to do with his life, so he decided to get an associate degree and continue bartending. Throughout his years behind the bar, he always wanted to open his own spot.
“I think that’s what a lot of people [want] in this industry. If they love what they do, if they love this industry as much as I do, love making cocktails, love serving great food, I think the endgame is to open your own place,” Burt says.
After a stint as craft specialist for the distributor Glazer's, Burt and his wife moved to Frisco and found the home of Bottled in Bond. The couple didn't anticipate the fevered growth that would take place in Frisco, Burt says. The name of the bar comes from the Bottled in Bond Act of 1897. The act set legal regulations in the U.S. for distilled beverages that have been aged and bottled.
While Burt worked at Glazer’s, he met Bernie Lubbers, a whiskey guru and Heaven Hill Distilleries, and talking about bonded whiskey stuck with him, he says. The Daily Beast offers an explainer for the meaning of bottled in bond:
"Basically, it’s the love child of distillers and the federal government. To more fully understand this, some history is in order.
"Bonded warehouses have been around for centuries. These were warehouses established as small principalities within or contiguous to the distillery grounds, where the gates were literally controlled by a government officer. Warehouse doors often had two locks; one key was held by the distillery, and the other by the revenuer. Nothing could go in or out of this fief without a scrupulous logging of liquids.
"These conditions offered an advantage: instead of paying taxes on liquor as it came off the still, distillers could squire their untaxed newmake off to this special warehouse, where it would sit unmolested by revenuers until it departed the warehouse for distribution. Of course, with its release the tax bill would come due. Think of bonding as an IRA for liquor. (These were also popular with distillers because their long-term tax liability gradually declined as the angel’s share took a portion of each cask through evaporation.)"
“Here’s something that we created that regulated how whiskeys were made, and it came out before the Food and Drug Administration,” Burt says. “You know, so we cared more about what we drank than what we ate. Bottled in bond has such a history to it, so I figured it would be a great name for a concept, and it just kind of fits.”
For people who are new to bourbon, Burt suggests the Peach Bouquet, a play on the old fashioned that's made with peach-infused bourbon, demarara syrup and peychuad’s bitters and garnished with an orange twist and mint.
“It’s kind of an introduction to an old fashioned,” he says. “If someone doesn’t really like whiskey, or they’ve never had an old fashioned before, it’s kind of a good introduction to a good cocktail.”
A refreshing summer drink included on the cocktail menu is the Acapulco Gold, a citrusy blend of gin, ginger liqueur, turmeric cordial and aromatic bitters and garnished with seared rosemary.
“When you think of a refreshing cocktail, you think of something you could just throw back, but this is something that you really savor,” Burt says.
Burt is from St. Kitts, a Caribbean island, so when Bottled in Bond first opened, the menu was full of Caribbean influences, says Lauren Gebhardt, general manager. But the bar went more global when it brought executive chef Colleen O’Hare on board. O’Hare renovated the menu with Southern classics that she put her twist on.
Her background brings some Asian influences to the menu. The glazed bison meatballs are a play on pho — the meatballs are topped with a hoisin glaze and come in a pho beef broth with bean sprouts, cilantro and Thai basil. The buffalo is also a popular meat in Vietnam, she says.
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The menu also has O’Hare’s take on the Kentucky classic Hot Browns. The dish is usually a lowbrow, open-faced sandwich, but O’Hare serves it with small biscuits with mornay and cheddar cheese sauce, topped with Duroc ham and tomatoes.
“We found a great spot. The concept that I created is very unique, very niche in Frisco,” Burt says. “[It is a] very intimate atmosphere [with] great cocktails, great food.”
Burt, his wife and his crew run a small operation. There are only four people tending to guests in the front and four others in the back on the busiest nights.
Bottled in Bond, 285 Dallas Parkway, Frisco