When it’s time for happy hour or date night, how do you choose between the overabundance of adult drink choices around town? All in the name of “the job,” Austinot.com’s team of bloggers have scoured our fair city and come up with this collection of the best cocktails in Austin.
Peche: Vieux Carre
In the immortal words of my bartender, this cocktail is as if a Manhattan and a Sazerac had a delicious love child. Very appropriate. Built on the back of a rye and cognac base, the Vieux arrives with a sweet yet subtle orange aroma. The whiskey backbone is balanced out by a healthy dose of sweet vermouth and bitters, giving the cocktail a perfect balance.
Add to the mix an upscale vibe in the heart of downtown, and you have a winner. Accessible, delicious and full of rich flavor, Peche’s Vieux Carre is a classic cocktail made by some of Austin’s most accomplished bartenders. A boozy, brilliant home run for whiskey and non whiskey drinkers alike!
208 W 4th Street
Midnight Cowboy: Old Fashioned
I like things simple. But for this assignment, Jameson and Lone Star wouldn’t cut it. So I went to Midnight Cowboy for their Old Fashioned. This potent cocktail was right up my alley. The bitters and sugar cube collided with the whiskey for an amazing drink. It was so good, I had two of them.
313 E 6th Street
drink.well.: Pear Pressure
Call it peer pressure, call it intuition or call it punny, but I knew I was going to love this drink before I even tasted it. Economically priced at $9, its bittersweet taste makes Pear Pressure dangerously drinkable. Initially I was nervous about the tequila–I did not have a good relationship with tequila in college. But the fresh lemon and sweet pear-soaked maple syrup, paired with the spiciness of the cardamom bitters and tequila, made it my new favorite cocktail in Austin.
The setting for this delectable drink is the intimate neighborhood cocktail bar and restaurant, drink.well. This small establishment serves big flavors with craft cocktails and simple dishes. The staff is friendly yet non-intrusive, making it a great setting for date night or a chill evening out with friends. And to make this an even better experience? The Pear Pressure, along with a few other select cocktails, is $3 off during happy hour. So head over to drink.well. the next time you’re in the mood for a great cocktail without the fuss and high price tag.
207 E 53rd Street
Halcyon: Chocolate Espresso Martini
J. Alan Nelson
There’s a coffee shop/bar in downtown Austin with this decadent drink waiting for you. Friends and strangers are there. Musicians, artists, actors, bankers and software nerds wander in and out.
Order the Chocolate Expresso Martini at Halcyon before you sign onto the Net or text your friend. It will make you question what reality is. Congratulations. Socrates said the unexamined life is not worth living. Now yours is.
Aristocrat Lounge: Mission Statement
My favorite cocktail, the Mission Statement, can be found at The Aristocrat Lounge on Burnet. Mission Statement is their take on an Old Fashioned, made with Mission Fig infused bourbon, muddled lemon, demerara syrup and angostura bitters. This concoction is slightly sweeter than a traditional Old Fashioned. The fig sits nicely in the background, as does the angostura. It’s a tasty and balanced drink for the bourbon drinker or old geezer in you.
The Aristocrat opened its doors November 2014 in the space formerly occupied by Poodle Dog Lounge. You can still find painted poodle dogs throughout the bar and they have several pool tables and skeeball. The interior is a mix of dive bar and speakeasy with plenty of seating and sparse lighting. If cocktails aren’t your thing, the bar offers a small but respectable craft beer selection and wine. The frozen hot toddy is also a must try. It’s a neighborhood bar with wide appeal on the northern edge of Austin’s booming Burnet Road.
6507 Burnet Road
Dozen Street: Clover Club
I recently wrote about Dozen Street, the artsy eastside bar of my dreams, so I knew I wanted to feature a cocktail there. Since choosing an unequivocal favorite made my palms sweat, I went with a delicious classic with some interesting history: the Clover Club.
The recipe is fairly simple. It includes gin, lemon juice, raspberry syrup and an egg white. The egg white acts as an emulsifier, creating the foamy texture, and also adds to the beauty of this pink drink. The pink hue caused Esquire to dub the Clover Club a drink for “pansies” in 1934, and “something for the girls” in 1949. Yet, this drink was named after a historic men’s club in Philadelphia whose members met once a month from 1882 until the 1920’s at the Bellevue-Stratford hotel. They were known to joke around, eat and drink heavily and heckle their guest speakers.
This cocktail didn’t gain popularity outside of Philadelphia until 1910 in New York, where William Butler Yeats was said to have fallen in love with the drink. Esquire has since apologized for their stereotypical Clover Club classification because anyone that appreciates a strong, visually appealing and texturally interesting drink knows this classic is perfection.
1808 E 12th Street
Apis Restaurant and Apiary: The Apiary
A classically blended collection of simple and natural flavors creates the perfect sipper for any whiskey loving girl, like myself! Lemon, sarsaparilla, dry curacao and Texas bourbon infused with honeycomb from Apis’ onsite bee hives make up this namesake beverage at one of my new favorite concepts in town.
23526 Hwy 71, Spicewood, TX
CU29: Devil’s Honey
Craft beer fans don’t get much love when it comes to cocktails. Cu29 aims to change that with the Devil’s Honey craft cocktail, an inspired combination of Fox Barrel Pear Cider and Real Ale’s Devils Backbone, a potent Belgian-style Tripel with strong notes of honey.
To top it all off, Cu29 adds a honeycomb dipper with copious amounts of locally sourced honey. The end result is a sweet cocktail that is not quite cider or beer, but the best parts of both.
720 Brazos Street
Somersault: Broken Down Tibetan Mule
All I have to do is mention the name of this craft cocktail, and you’re immediately interested. Served in a mason jar with a heaping spoon of fig jam, the Broken Down Tibetan Mule combines Grey Goose Le Citron, King’s Ginger and lime juice topped with ginger-lemon foam. It’s too photogenic to taste, but once you stir in that fig jam and lick off your spoon, there’s no going back.
The Domain’s speakeasy-style craft cocktail lounge serves up some of the most innovative drinks in the city, along with a rotating menu of upscale jello shots (referred to as “edible cocktails”). If you appreciate the work of a skilled mixologist, it’s more than worth the drive north to visit Somersault.
11601 Domain Drive
@theAustinot wants to know:
In your opinion, what is the best cocktail in Austin?