The Wall Street Journal wrote yesterday about how wildly innovative molecular-gastronomist chefs are totally changing the cocktail game by moonlighting as wildly innovative molecular-gastronomist bartenders. With their foie gras-spiked cocktails, booze-spiked sorbets, and sazerac gelees, the whole notion of alcoholic consumption is being turned on its ear. Of course, Alinea factors into the thinkpiece, with Grant Achatz musing on the possibility of “opening a standalone bar and lounge where food will come second to drinks.” Perhaps overlooking the part where the article says “Mr. Achatz envisions” (emphasis ours), the good folks at Eater National have taken this as a declaration of intent. So is this really happening? We emailed Achatz, who told us that there’s “nothing to report as of yet.”
Despite the Journal plainly stating that “Mr. Achatz’s next project is to open a bar of his own in Chicago,” it appears that this next project is pretty far off in the distance. “Not that I am bored here, but [cocktails are] opening up new possibilities,” Achatz said. “I would love the opportunity to sit down at a bar and say I am going to have an alcohol tasting menu.” But as Achatz tells us, Alinea already plays around plenty with edible cocktails and other manipulations — he particularly noted an entry on the Alinea Mosaic forum outlining the restaurant’s six-cocktail “VIP Cocktail Block,” which he identified as an inspiration for the Journal’s story. So for the time being, Alinea: The Bar is purely a hypothetical. An intriguing, exciting hypothetical — but a hypothetical nevertheless.