By Elisha Pappacoda
They're served shaken, stirred, on the rocks, neat, even infused -- and always in the proper glass.
A couple of new downtown bars are focusing on the art of making mixed drinks, and old school cocktails are what's on the menu.
At The Courtesy and Elixir, housed in the same historic building on the corner of Orange Avenue and Washington Street, bartenders serve up craft beers, aged whiskeys and artisinal cocktails.
"We have the Tomcat, we have the Blackbird, we've got the Walking Stick ," said Gene Zimmerman, owner of The Courtesy, a bar focusing on mixed drinks of old and original new classics.
"The thing that we do best is craft cocktails and we have a selection of 11 different cocktails that we've created," Zimmerman added.
Take the Ruby Red Basil, a vodka drink with St. Germain elderflower liquor, fresh basil and ruby red grapefruit.
"And then we have a selection of our standards that are true classics turn of the century cocktails like the Sazerac from New Orleans, the Martinez, the Corpse Reviver," said Zimmerman.
Around the corner at Elixir, owner David Siminou is proud to have revived one of downtown's oldest building's using its original 100 year old heart pine wood for the bar and the paneling.
"I had this vision of (reviving) this historical building and putting a historical bar together," he said.
In keeping with the theme, Elixir serves up smooth aged bourbons, scotches and the ever-popular vanilla vodkas infused with peach and pineapples, made in house.
"Downtown needed a space as a local neighborhood place that can offer old fashioned drinks," Siminou said.
And while these speakeasy style bars may transport you back to another time and another place, Zimmerman is quick to point out, they are decidedly modern day Orlando.
"We'll catch people at the bar saying oh this reminds me of New Orleans or this reminds me of Seattle or Brooklyn or Chicago ... all of which we feel like is high praise but it's Orlando," he said. "It's Orlando to the bone."