If one wants to procure a bottle of spirits for consumption at home, one needn't look too far to find a liquor store, grocery store or gas station. But for someone looking for exactly the right spirit for a particular cocktail, it can be a bit of a challenge, especially if your tastes run to the bitter or smoky flavors of Amari or mezcal. That's how the Northland became home to Mitch e Amaro, a home bartending wonderland.
The shop is the brainchild of brothers Ben and Josh Edwards. After receiving the Death and Co. cocktail book, they started searching for some of the harder to find ingredients. What they found was that for the home bartender, certain things were just impossible to find. Seeing an unfilled need prompted the brothers to launch their own shop dedicated to the more obscure things in cocktailing culture.
It would be easy to write Mitch e Amaro off as just another liquor store, but that's not the case. The shop stocks an array of bartending tools (jiggers, bar spoons, strainers, etc.), a large selection of cocktail books, and even non-alcoholic beverages such as artisan tonics and non-alcoholic spirits. And bitters? They have a huge variety to spice up any cocktail.
The centerpiece of the concept though is the bar. Hiding behind rows of implements and hard to find Amari, whiskeys, gins, liquors, and mezcals, is a small bar with a large menu of drinks made using the ingredients in the store. The bar serves as a laboratory of sorts, a way to try out unknown spirits before taking the plunge. The menu isn't full of the most creative cocktails in town, but it is the greatest variety of a single type. Take, for instance, the humble gin and tonic. You can try one of 13 variations, utilizing different combinations of gins, tonics, and garnishes.
"To us, it seemed logical. If you want to try new spirits, you have a bar to try things. We were pleased to find out we could have a bar combined with the retail space. That way, if there was something you were interested in buying you could try in a cocktail first. Or if you find a cocktail that you like, you can take the ingredients home," says Ben.
The best part? If you buy a cocktail and a bottle or book and receive a discount. Discounts are also available for those that work in the service industry. And if they don't have the bottle you're looking for, they are happy to special order things that they don't currently carry, even if it's a single bottle.
The Edwards' are excited about opportunities to educate. In addition to frequent tastings, they plan to start offering cocktail classes in the near future. Since opening in early February, the Edwards say that the reception in downtown North Kansas City has been very warm.
They happened into the space when the Northland favorite LeMonde closed in September.
"I was at Colony getting coffee and was going to get a cookie and they were putting up the signs saying they were closing. I was really sad because I loved that place. Then it dawned on me that it would be the perfect spot for the shop," says Josh.
The space has been transformed. Where there was once racks of baguettes, now glistening bottles stand at attention, beckoning patrons to try a dram or two. And the purveyors are beckoning as well, inviting home cocktail enthusiasts to take some of the risks out of buying obscure spirits.
Visit Mitch e Amaro at 306 Armour Road in North Kansas City or online at MitcheAmaro.com.