Bar Review: Wit & Wisdom, a Tavern by Michael Mina in the Four Seasons

Bar Review: Wit & Wisdom, a Tavern by Michael Mina in the Four Seasons

Wit & Wisdom, a Tavern by Michael Mina opened this past November in the Harbor East Four Seasons Hotel with views of the Baltimore waterfront. The space is instantly warm & cozy, somehow both posh and down to earth, full of  browns and off-whites enlivened by the strategic orange or red pillow. Twinkling lights and small fires offer an invitation to sit down for a while, and curl up with a drink. 

Executive chef Benjamin Lambert’s food menu boasts exciting comfort American with touches of Eastern Seaboard fare, and the beverage program shows the same promise. Following the overarching philosophy of using local and fresh resources, all cocktails are handcrafted. Juices are hand-squeezed daily and any leftover is discarded. The bar team is technically meticulous – all drinks are “done the right way, and recipes have been designed to achieve optimum balances between sweet and sour, fruity and bitter.

Baltimoreans will delight in seeing that hotel guests are presented with local beer options, including Natty Boh (just $1.88 during happy hour), DuClaw Venom ($4 at happy hour), and even Brewer’s Art’s Resurrection. The wine list features mostly West Coast vineyards, with a select few from France or Spain. Happy hour runs 4–7 PM daily, with the beer specials, $5 wines and apps and a changing $6 specialty cocktail. The cocktail menu has many well-thought-out choices, and we recently had a chance to sample several. A few to try, if you go:

Shetland Nectar (Highland Scotch, ruby port, sorghum sugar, served in a julep cup over crushed ice with a dash of Aztec bitters): Like an adult snow cone, this drink brings to mind lazy summer afternoons, allowing the ice to melt which then transforms the drink even more. There is a molasses-like after taste with notes of sour.

The Company (saffron gin, rhubarb honey, lemon, orange bitters, shaken & served up in a coupe with a sprig of thyme): Even those who dislike gin could be converted with this drink, in which its strong signature aroma is turned pleasant, sweet and tangy by the accompanying herbs and spices.

Friar’s Patch (mint-infused cognac, Bénédictine, apple juice, honey, shaken & served up with a sage leaf): One of our favorites, this reminded of a great port, with deep flavors and an initial sweetness that faded into a pleasant sour note.

Jalisco Sour (blanco tequila, Aperol, agave nectar, lime, grapefruit marmalade, shaken & served over ice with ground cinnamon): This vibrant yellow drink is reminiscent of sunny days on a beach in Mexico. Freshly grated nutmeg on top gives this cocktailprovides a warmness, and the El Tesoro Platinum provides freshness and images of sand & water.

Sticky Wicket (bourbon, smoked maple syrup, Fernet Branca, soda water, served short over ice with an orange peel): While the previous drink was perfect for fair weather, this particular concoction is more  masculine. Think leather chairs by a fireplace on a cold winter night, maybe even puffing on a cigar. Smoky maple syrup provides minimal sweetness, and the Fernet Branca and bourbon provide strong body and heat. This drink is not for the weak of heart.

Charming Farmer (George Dickel, Okinawa black sugar gomme, lemon, shaken & served up or over ice with charred bay leaf): This closely resembles a Whisky Sour. Dry shaken with farm-fresh egg whites and garnished with a charred bay leaf, it goes down smooth, with a hint of tartness.

200 International Dr. (International & Aliceanna); 410-576-5800

Photos by Lan Pham

Recent Articles
spacer

Feedback

How are we doing? Tell us what you like or don't like and how we can improve. We would love to hear your thoughts!

*Name:
*E-mail:
*Suggestions:
 
Baltimore's Coolest Rooftop Bars for Summer Drinking

Baltimore's Coolest Rooftop Bars for Summer Drinking

Whether it's on warm summer nights or with the briskness of spring and fall evenings, drinking is often at its best when it's al fresco. ...read more ›

by Jennifer Waldera Jul 31, 2019
Using Peas to Make Gin Might Lead to More Environmentally Friendly Spirits, Studies Show

Using Peas to Make Gin Might Lead to More Environmentally Friendly Spirits, Studies Show

Scientists may have discovered a more environmentally friendly way to make one of the world's most popular spi...read more ›

by The Drink Nation Jul 23, 2019
Drink a Classic Cocktail for a Good Cause During Negroni Week, June 24-30

Drink a Classic Cocktail for a Good Cause During Negroni Week, June 24-30

Negroni Week 2019 is June 24-30, so drink this classic cocktail for a good cause....read more ›

by The Drink Nation Jun 19, 2019
SPONSORED
Drink Nation Store Rectangle
What to Do if Your Uber, Lyft, or Cab Driver Ever Strays From Your Destination or Makes You Feel in Danger

What to Do if Your Uber, Lyft, or Cab Driver Ever Strays From Your Destination or Makes You Feel in Danger

If you're taking an Uber, Lyft, or cab and feel unsafe, there are steps you can take to protect yourself....read more ›

by Nina Starner Jun 19, 2019
Behind the Bar: Kat Corbo of The Study & Winner of Speed Rack 2019

Behind the Bar: Kat Corbo of The Study & Winner of Speed Rack 2019

This time on Behind the Bar, we spoke to Kat Corbo of The Study, who recently won Speed Rack 2019....read more ›

by The Drink Nation May 15, 2019
Where to Drink Outside in Baltimore During Summer 2019

Where to Drink Outside in Baltimore During Summer 2019

Whether it's on the waterfront with seafood and crushes or on a dog-friendly deck with whiskey, outdoor drinking is a staple in this city....read more ›

by Jennifer Waldera May 14, 2019
Boston Beer & Dogfish Head Have Merged in a $300 Million Deal

Boston Beer & Dogfish Head Have Merged in a $300 Million Deal

In a huge move for the American craft beer community, Boston Beer and Dogfish Head have agreed to a merger valued at $300 million dollars. ...read more ›

by The Drink Nation May 10, 2019
Welcome Warmer Weather & Sip These Spring Cocktails in Baltimore

Welcome Warmer Weather & Sip These Spring Cocktails in Baltimore

With snow and winter winds behind us, it’s time to step into spring. Is there any better way to put a spring in your step than with some seasonal si...read more ›

by Jennifer Waldera Apr 17, 2019
A New, High-End Blend of Jack Daniel's Whiskey is Now Available in the United States

A New, High-End Blend of Jack Daniel's Whiskey is Now Available in the United States

A new, high-end blend of Jack Daniel's whiskey, known as Jack Daniel's No. 27 Gold, which was previously only ...read more ›

by The Drink Nation Apr 15, 2019
Coopers' Craft Bourbon Is Now Available in 12 States With a New Barrel Reserve Expression

Coopers' Craft Bourbon Is Now Available in 12 States With a New Barrel Reserve Expression

Coopers' Craft Kentucky Straight Bourbon has debuted an entirely new label design, has expanded to more states...read more ›

by The Drink Nation Apr 3, 2019
SPONSORED
View all Articles

Sign up to get weekly drinking news, bar reviews, events and more sent directly to your inbox!

Close