Whiskey Cake: Like Deliverance, But with More Fancy Whiskey and Way Less Gang Rape
Walking through the front doors of Whiskey Cake on Christmas Eve, my father says it best: "I feel like I'm in the movie Deliverance." The abundance of rustic wood, plaid and whiskey barrels lend a backwoods-stillhouse vibe that's further reinforced by our handsome blonde server, who sports suspenders (mandatory) and a handlebar mustache (optional, I assume).
The dim lighting and hip soundtrack -- think Tegan & Sara and The Shins -- offer a welcome refuge from the wilds of suburbia. Thirty minutes spent searching for a parking space at Willowbend and epic long lines at Target have left this city dweller fiending for a stiff drink. We manage to snag a table near the bar and survey the menu, pleased to find something other than appletinis and frozen sangria-ritas at this Plano hotspot, however oxymoronic the phrase..
Whiskey Cake, unsurprisingly, specializes in whiskey drinks like the old school Sazerac and a tasty-sounding Maple Whiskey Smash, but as that particular breed of brown liquor seems bring out the inner Snooki and J-Woww in my sister and me, we declined to sample them. We could think of better activities for Christmas Day than being bailed out of
the drunk tank by our parents.
First up, then: The Blood Orange Gimlet, a festive mix of vodka, blood orange puree, and fresh lime and pineapple juices, shaken till frothy and garnished with an aromatic thyme sprig. Nicely balanced and hardly sweet, the freshly juiced pineapple is key to this drink,
giving it a nice twang. Whiskey Cake makes nearly all of their bar components in-house, from the citrus juices to the simple syrup, and it's this attention to detail that makes their drinks worth the $8 to $12 prices.
If you're looking to sip something a little more avant garde, consider the Secretariat Margarita. A savory twist on the classic, it combines horseradish-infused Cazadores tequila and Coke along with the usual lime juice and Cointreau. It arrives in a tall glass filled with special extra-large cubes of ice and is adorned with a chunk of (housemade, of course) peppered beef jerky. Ours could have used a little more citrus to cut through the horseradish bite, but it's worth trying for the novelty alone.
Other beverages of note are the West Side Swizzle, similar to a Moscow Mule but with lemon standing in for lime and a splash of housemade grenadine -- which bears little resemblance to the candy-sweet bottled variety found in most bars -- and a Negroni that's aged in a charred oak barrel for six weeks prior to being served up on the rocks.
If you find yourself in need of nourishment, chow down on caramelized french onion dip and kettle chips for a mere three bucks, or roughly what it cost me to get home via the Tollway. The namesake Whiskey Cake, a dense cake rich with brown sugar, dates and a bourbon sauce is totally worth the calories. Just make sure you get enough in your
stomach to soak up some of that moonshine. It's a long drive home.