First Call: Keeping It Simple (Smartly) At 9 Million in Unmarked Bills

9 Mil's Brandon Fitzgerald
The Watering Hole: 9 Million in Unmarked Bills, 3507 Fremont Pl. FREMONT

The Atmosphere: Formerly Triangle Lounge, the Fremont bar takes on a quasi-prohibition "gangster" theme and its eight taps take the backseat to cocktails by the name of "Bonnie and Clyde" or "DB Cooper." 9 Mil shoots for an upscale crowd--the menu's white truffle mac 'n' cheese and lamb sliders standing as proof--but the weekend vibe still usually lands on the fratty end of the spectrum. My weeknight first call trip saw baseball on the flatscreens and a diverse crowd on the barstools--definitely different than my previous run-ins.

The Barkeep: Brandon Fitzgerald has been with 9 Mil since it reopened about a year and a half ago. He was friendly and attentive--and not too talkative.

The Drink: Picked from the board of specialty cocktails, Fizgerald made me a Brooklyn: Jameson whiskey, herbal Italian liqueur Amaro, maraschino liquor and dry vermouth. When I asked why this one, he simply offered up "It's delicious." When I prodded, he added "It'll give you a nice buzz." Indeed.

The Verdict: The drink was smooth thanks to the Jameson, sweet courtesy of the maraschino and the Amaro lent an herbal taste reminiscent of J├Ągermeister that managed not to overpower the whiskey. My usual whiskey drink of choice is a Manhattan or the occasional old fashioned, but thanks to Fitzgerald's tip I might add a new cocktail into the mix.

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