In cocktail terminology, the word “flip” is one that has been in use since 1695. But when you want to turn that flip into a sexier, hand-crafted cocktail of 2013, you’ll find it at 11601 Domain Drive at Somersault.
Still in its early stages of creating innovative cocktails for fans of infusions, molecular cocktail gastronomy and gourmet edibles, Somersault is far from adolescent. With the creativity and sheer skill of Bar Manager and mixologist Ryan Baird, you are in for a unique and sometimes upside-down cocktail experience.
Baird has brought classic recipes back to life, with a bit of a facelift. She clearly loves her job, which was made very apparent while she was unpacking a box of glassware during our photo shoot. Beaming with joy at the unique styled glassware, Baird divulged that Somersault will soon be serving up absinthe in these hard to find gems she originally spied in a well-known San Francisco coffee house. Somersault will soon be North Austin’s only absinthe bar.
If You Can, Can-Can
I quickly discovered that the key to each cocktail Baird prepared was the freshly squeezed juices and brightly colored garnishes that are artistically implemented into every glass full.
This is not your average well, where speed is highest priority. It’s more like a patience-is-a-virtue venue. With patience, you will see the crafty, Vaudevillesque interior design of the bar come together with the sexy makings of a modern day cocktail. My guess is, you’re going to really like it.
Somersault is a great meeting place for pre- and post-dinner celebrations and special events where showmanship will entertain your group.
The intense, turquoise blue ceiling above the centerpiece bar is surrounded by thick ropes (like the type you used to climb in grade school), strung up from the ceiling in a bowed display that is reminiscent of the interior peak of a circus tent.
The ropes add an ironic glamour to the décor and they complement the bulbous light fixtures and black leather studded bar stools. I felt like I needed my can-can ruffles and that I should kick up my heels ‘round the bar top – great idea for a themed party with flair.
It’s All in the Mix, or So They Say
No mixes used here. Everything is freshly cut, chopped, squeezed and infused right in house. Baird’s cocktail creations extend past the glass rim. Each day at Somersault, they serve up house made, gourmet edibles. But let’s be honest. You can best think of these as artistically drawn scoops of very stylish jello shots that you can try to recreate at home, but are served up best right here.
The edible selection as well as the cocktails will change from time to time and seasonally. I had the pleasure of sampling four varieties; Strawberry Mango, Oreo Crème, Hibiscus and Blueberry Lemonade.
The chef never shares his most prized recipes and the same applies here…although I will say that each delectable treat carries a secret ingredient that will make it memorable.
Take in the fanciful bar design because none of the elegant libations are overdone. Highlighting each ingredient for its maximum flavor potential and adding no additional sweeteners or color enhancements, Somersault’s liquid cuisine is classy, tasteful and well-balanced. My favorite and future go-to cocktail is called the Broken Down Tibetan Mule.
The Broken Down Tibetan Mule is a perfect balance of natural sweetness from the spoonful of fig and ginger jam, combined with only one other ingredient and vodka, then topped with a ginger lemon foam. It’s the perfect summer sipper!
Other popular signature cocktails worth mentioning, which will either create some heat or blow your hair back, are the Serrano Blueberry Margarita and the Campfire Old Fashioned.
The true show stealer, however, is the Pacifica. Don’t be fooled by its island tune. The Pacifica is packed with smoky, savory and fruitful flavors, highlighting passion fruit, applewood smoked sea salt and a rum duo.
Then the theatrics begin as its topped off with a flaming lemon bowl and sprinkled with cinnamon spark. I could tell you about it, but you need to see this for yourself.
The Show Must Go On
Check out Somersault during their strictly evening hours: 6 PM–2 AM. With reasonable prices starting as low as $5, you can try a variety of beverages and edibles. Come out for the entertainment of the craft. This is a great indoor spot to stay cool during hot nights and show your friends a unique North Austin experience.
One last note – don’t swing from the ropes. I asked and was denied, this time at least.
Have you been to Somersault yet?
Photos courtesy of Lorena Higuera.