For starters, if you haven’t heard of half of the ingredients in a drink, it probably goes in the creative category. This list goes a little further than that though, taking into account the combinations and origins of the ingredients used to create these unique pleasures for the palate. Here are some of the most creative cocktails in DFW, and in case they seem a little intimidating to novice bartenders, check out these pointers from the pros.
2927 N. Henderson Ave.
Dallas, TX 75206
Chad Solomon and Christy Pope are the beverage consultants for Hibiscus and Victor Tangos. They divulged a few unique drinks in hopes that you will try them out, either for yourself at home or by dining at one of these restaurants where they will be concocted to perfection for you.
3/4 oz Punt e Mes
1/2 tsp Luxardo Maraschino
1/2 tsp Fernet Branca
2 oz Rittenhouse Rye Whiskey
First stirred up by Solomon, these ingredients should be combined with ice, then stirred and strained into a cocktail glass. For the finishing touch, a lemon zest makes the perfect garnish. The idea for this drink came from the popular Manhattan cocktail. Solomon is originally from New York, where bartenders have been twisting the Manhattan since the early 1900’s to the Brooklyn cocktail and other variations for different areas of the city. He thought we needed a drink for the Knox-Henderson area of Dallas, so concocted one to that name.
Hibiscus Pisco Punch
3/4 oz freshly squeezed lime juice
1 oz freshly squeezed pineapple juice
1/2 oz pineapple syrup (equal parts pineapple juice & sugar)
1/2 oz St. Germain (elderflower liqueur)
2 oz hibiscus infused Pisco*
* hibiscus infused Pisco: Measure 3 Tbsp of dried hibiscus into a 2 qt mason jar and add 1-750ml bottle of Pisco, and stir. Macerate for 2 hours, then strain. Bottle and keep refrigerated.
Pope came up with the idea for the hibiscus twist on Pisco punch. She combines all the ingredients into a shaker, adds ice and shakes. They are then strained into a double old fashioned glass filled with ice and garnished with freshly grated nutmeg and a pineapple wedge. Keep in mind that this drink takes some preparation time since the hibiscus infused Pisco needs 2 hours to mature. For those who aren’t familiar with Pisco, it is a South American brandy, but that shouldn’t scare anyone away, because this is actually a fruity drink.
3001 N. Henderson Ave.
Dallas, TX 75206
3/4 oz lemon juice
3/4 oz grade B maple syrup
2 oz Elijah Craig 12 or Buffalo Trace Bourbon
1 dash Angostura bitters
1 dash Orange bitters
Pope and Solomon combined efforts to come up with this drink. Once all the ingredients have been poured into a shaker, ice is added, and the whole thing is shaken. The liquid is strained into a double old fashioned glass and garnished with an orange slice and a brandied cherry. There are several different flavors mixed together here from the bourbon to the sweet syrup, the tartness of the lemon juice to the Angostura bitters which can be used to temper acidity. They all combine to create this unique result.
1408 W. Magnolia Ave.
Fort Worth, TX 76104
www.theusualbar.comBrad Hensarling, co-owner and cocktail manager at The Usual, had some creative cocktails of his own to share. This bar likes to discover new and old cocktail recipes and create them into the perfect drink for you. All you have to do is order them, but if you want to try your hand at a couple, here are some of Hensarling’s recommendations.
The Unconventional Wisdom
2 oz bison grass infused vodka
3/4 oz lemon juice
3/4 oz simple syrup
1/8 oz (1 bar spoon) molasses
1 sprig sage (for garnish)
As its name may suggest, bison grass infused vodka can be difficult to find, but that is part of the allure in using it to make a drink no one has had before. These ingredients should be poured over ice only after they have been mixed together Hensarling adds that this is how all drinks should be made. The ice should always be added last because it is added to cool and slightly dilute the drink, since ice melts as soon as it touches alcohol. If it is added too early though, it will melt too much and dilute the drink more than necessary.
1 oz Zaya Gran Reserva rum
1 oz Kronan Swedish Punsch
1/2 oz lime juice
1/2 oz simple syrup
4 drops Thai bitters
Zaya Gran Reserva is a rum from Trinidad and Tobago while Kronan Swedish Punsch is from Sweden. Kronan is a sweet rum that has been infused with spices. Thai bitters adds some surprise flavor to the drink as well, because it contains flavors like coriander, lemongrass, and mint. Hensarling points out this drink is good in winter because of the spices in contains, but is also refreshing on a hot summer day. It is best drunk by itself or as an after-dinner drink, rather than accompanying a meal.
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Emilie DesJardins currently works in Dallas television and worked with KRLD Restaurant Week for several years before that. She is always trying new places around the Metroplex to find the best food and unique things to do. See her work at Examiner.com.