Drinking In the New Johnny’s Half Shell

Posted July 27, 2012 at 12:06pm

Stifling heat. Bitter cold. Debilitating thirst.

Patrons of Johnny’s Half Shell’s new patio need not weather these annoyances.

Partners Ann Cashion and John Fulchino invested about $135,000 in their newly expanded outdoor perch, an all-purpose oasis outfitted with comfy sofas, cooling fans (summer), communal fire pit (winter) and a full-service bar (year-round).

The al fresco watering hole features just shy of a dozen new specialty cocktails devised by Fulchino and Room 11 merrymaker Dan Searing. Drink prices range from $10 (HUM Royale) to $13 (Whisper Dry Martini) a pour, and many are laced with the signature HUM botanical spirit (a 70-proof, pot still rum infused with hibiscus, ginger, cardamom and kaffir lime).

A boozy Sazerac struck the perfect balance, coating our palette in dulcet orange brandy and then burning it all off with a lingering blast of rye (very nice).

The HUM and Stormy blew us away with its piquancy and intoxicating effervescence. (God bless ginger beer.)

Shy of living in the Big Easy or being named Lebowski, the only grain product most people associate with milk is cereal. Not so at Johnny’s, where Fulchino et al. have dusted off milk punch. The labor-intensive potable blends together oak-aged Dancing Pines bourbon, Stonyfield Farms organic milk and simple syrup into a creamy sipper with honeyed undertones. A dash of nutmeg adds holiday cheer.

If all that sounds too rich for your blood, give the fledgling Climate Change ($5) a whirl. The summery beverage weaves grapefruit-infused vodka and cranberry juice into a refreshingly tart cooler.