All Hail the Simple Drink Menu

Categories: Drink This

Check out this screen grab from the cocktail menu at Kitchen LTO. It's filled with cocktails that to some might seem plain and boring. But in the age of the neatly waxed mustache and fedora, cocktails that are easily recognizable are increasingly rare. Lists like this one are refreshing.

Of course the drinks served at Smyth are delicious, but it's nearly impossible to order the same drink again. And as more and more restaurants dip their stirring spoon into the beaker of craft mixology, you start to wonder if you're missing something when the bartenders aren't just focusing on the simple classics (hold the smoking wood chips and the pyrotechnic citrus twist).

Imagine a cocktail that still tastes like the Champagne that gives it effervescence, or a simple negroni that's medicinal and bitter. Remember the Moscow mule before it was offered on tap in five different flavors? The flamboyant spins on these drinks that are cropping up at many restaurants don't always add up to improvement.

Jason Kosmas is behind LTO's drink menu and his "classic cocktails" may take some creative liberties, but they're minuscule and not enough to alter the character of the original recipe. It would be nice to see more restaurants in Dallas trim their drink menus back a bit and focus on the classics. The simple old-fashioned is still around for a reason.

Location Info

Kitchen LTO

3011 Gulden Lane, Dallas, TX

Category: Restaurant

Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help

Learn to do basics first.   Who remembers the Mary Tyler Moore Show episode where the guys are going to play poker. Mary asks if they have enough drinks and Lou responds... 'we have three dinks, scotch, water and scotch and water that's three drinks'  Sounds good to me..  


I'll take well-executed simplicity over eye-dazzling complexity any day.

everlastingphelps topcommenter

That menu is indeed a thing of beauty.

I'm not impressed by the chef who can make pate and truffles amazing.  I'm impressed by the chef who can make a cheese omelette amazing.  These drinks are the cheese omelette of cocktails -- easy to make "ok", but damned hard to do RIGHT.


@Dallas246 Nice catch.  Several restaurants in town do the same thing that this article is suggesting is rare.  Oak prominently divides its drink menu into "Classic Cocktails" and "Signature Cocktails" on the same page, with many of the classics overlapping with this list.  Driftwood offers a carefully edited menu of 6 cocktails (they are more of a wine pairing place), with 2 of them classics, and none of them including more than 4 ingredients.  And I find it odd to criticize Smyth for its custom cocktails, when you are always allowed to order any of these classics and get them served up properly every time.

I'll add that Jason Kosmas has also created the drink menus for Nora and Bowlounge. Nora offers none of these classics, but instead offerings "Afghan inspired" drinks that pair perfectly with that gorgeous food.  Bowlounge sprinkles in the classics with some custom craft drinks as well.  In other words, Dallas is finally offering a little bit of everything.  It's a good time.  

scott.reitz moderator

@Dallas246 Not omitted with any intent other than making the text legible. I think it's increasingly rare that restaurants place this much focus on simple, classic cocktails. Yes, there are additional drinks with more ingredients, but they're only five in number and they're placed on the bottom of the menu.

Now Trending

From the Vault