Midnight Rambler Is Mixing Shots That Taste Like Pho In Their Crazy-Ass Cocktail Lab

Categories: Drinking

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Katy Roberston
A fucking champ, literally.

I am generally skeptical of any cocktail that a bartender describes as "savory." Drinks should not taste like dinner. That kind of sensory dissonance is fine for trying weird new foods, but getting drunk should be a much more pure pursuit. Even if I'm being interesting, the drinks that I'm ordering shouldn't confuse my brain into thinking it should be doing anything other than shutting the hell up for a few hours.

Which is why I was so surprised at how amped I was to try Midnight Rambler's Pho-King Champ, a $6 shot made with wheat vodka, Oloroso sherry and something called "aromatized beef stock." The decision to duck into the Joule's new speakeasy came after several high-ABV beers from another stop, something that that could explain my newly adventurous stance on extremely weird drinks.

The Pho-King Champ is served chilled and is garnished simply with a single leaf of cilantro. The similarities with the syrupy or strong, spirit-forward shots that you're used to end in that the Pho-King Champ is served in a glass and will promptly get you drunk. Everything else about this shot adds up to an odd but exciting drinking experience that few other cocktails can contend with.


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How to Make Fireball at Home, with Black Swan's Gabe Sanchez

Categories: Drinking

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The folks behind Fireball whiskey are in damage-control mode after European countries issued a recall. Food-grade propylene glycol is safe for consumption, according to the FDA. But that didn't stop Norway, Sweden and Finland from pulling their product from the shelves, as false rumors spread that Fireball is actually made with automobile fluids. (Industrial grade propylene glycol is used in some anti-freezes.)

For now, Fireball is still going down smoothly in the States, which has different standards for the amount of food grade propylene glycol allowed in products. But beware, Fireball fans, of Food Babe. She's attacked Kraft because of their use of artificial dyes, skewered Subway because their rolls were made from yoga mats, and even attacked Budweiser when they refused to release the ingredients in her beer. Food Babe, otherwise known as Vani Hari, has proven successful with the largest corporations; if she sets her sights on Fireball, all bets are off.

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I Drank My First Negroni at Front Room Tavern, and It Went Down (Sort of) Smoothly

Categories: Drinking

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Amy McCarthy
A negroni for people who don't think they like negronis.
I am a relative newcomer to the world of fancy dranks. Up until about three years ago, I considered a good cocktail to be a girly and syrupy cosmopolitan or lemon drop. I had no problem swilling a now-undrinkable combination of budget vodka and Minute Maid lemonade. It got the job done. Even last week I couldn't refrain from buying a bottle of Fuzzy Navel Boone's Farm "wine product," so it's not exactly as if I'm working with some incredibly refined palate here.

I look back on my years of indiscriminate drinking with fondness, but I've put a great deal of effort into trying to drink like someone well above my station. I've researched Prohibition-era cocktails, tried different kinds of spirits, and generally just gotten drunk off the good stuff. After enjoying a few relatively accessible cocktails, like an aviation or French 75, I moved on to the more complicated stuff. I choked down Manhattans and realized that I preferred G&Ts. But no cocktail proved as challenging as the negroni.

See also: The Park Cities' Front Room Tavern Has a New Look, Chef and Menu, but Will It Stick?

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Bishop Cider Co. Promised to Bring Good Cider to Dallas and (Eventually, Almost) Delivered

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Kathy Tran
The ciders of Bishop Cider Co.
It was March 2013 when whispers of a cidery in Bishop Arts first slithered into the ears of thirsty Dallasites. Back then, in the middle of a Kickstarter blaze of glory, owner Joel Malone figured he'd be able to open his fledgling business a couple of months later and start rolling out as many barrels of homemade cider as the locals could drink. The city of Dallas, of course, had other ideas.

Like so many who try to start businesses that don't quite conform to one particular model, Bishop Cider Co. was buried deep, deep in permitting hell, because his business was technically a winery rather than brewery, due to the absence of grain. Over the next year, the bright breeziness of the new and interesting had been replaced by the slow drudgery of bureaucracy that strangles innovation in this city and others. In the end, Malone kept his promise to open in May. But it was May 2014, not 2013.

Recent restaurant reviews:
- Urban Acres Farm and Restaurant: This Is What Eating Local in Dallas Should Taste Like
- Cold Beer Company Found Out "Local" Is Harder Than It Looks, Especially in Dallas

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A Bar Named On Premise Is Coming to Deep Ellum, Like Your Liver Needs That

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file
Fifty bucks says they ditch the table cloths.
Lemongrass, the Deep Ellum Vietnamese restaurant that survived for years at 2711 Elm despite no one you know ever eating there, is closing. It will be replaced by a bar with the last remaining clever bar name, On Premise. All future bars will simply be numbered ("Bar 1," "Bar 2," etc.), like New York public schools and firehouses. Wait, no: Firehouse 37 is actually a cool name for a firehouse-themed bar with flaming cocktails and fire hoses for bar taps and a pole behind the bar for the bar backs. Someone do that, then we'll start numbering them.

Anyway, On Premise. It's brought to you by the guys behind The Mitchell, which is a cleverly named bar taking over the former home of The Chesterfield, which was a cleverly named bar downtown. One of the On Premisers, Chris Beardon, also owns Truth & Alibi, a cleverly named nightclub that looks like a cleverly named candy shop.

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Spec's and Total Wine Are Battling for Wine Supremacy, and You're Drinking the Benefits

Categories: Drinking

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Spec's opened its Walnut Hill behemoth in late 2011.
Want to buy a variety of brand-name wine, beer, and liquor practically at cost? Or shop an almost unprecedented number of Texas-made whiskeys, craft beers, and wines? Or choose from thousands and thousands of alcoholic beverages, a selection that dwarfs almost every other retailer in the area?

Then thank the battle between Spec's and Total Wine for control of the Dallas-Fort Worth liquor market. Over the past couple of years, the two chains -- Houston-based Spec's and Maryland's Total Wine -- have turned what used to be a gentlemanly and often price-controlled environment into the booze business' version of a pro wrestling cage match. This includes two lawsuits against Total (though none filed by Spec's).

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A Passionate Plea for More Tiki Bars in Dallas

Categories: Drinking

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Nick Rallo
The Mai Tai at the Sunset Lounge
There are exotic plants at the Sunset Lounge on Ross Avenue, but they're in the wallpaper -- giant, two-dimensional green leaves layered geometrically over beige paint as you look left from the bar. I'm looking at them as my attentive bartender, Rodney, who's wearing a stylish Duck Dynasty shirt, tells me what's in my Mai Tai. It's a mix of Sailor Jerry, lime juice, an almond liqueor, orange curacao, loaded in a pile of crunchy ice balls. Because alcohol somehow tastes better in a tiki tumbler, I make sure it comes in one. No frills or umbrellas in this one.

The drink is tart and eyebrow-removing strong, which is how a Mai Tai should be. The bar is throbbing with Rhianna songs and a group of 15 or so people, all wearing scrubs and clutching generic cocktails. On the menu, Sunset Lounge has 12 tiki-style cocktails, including a Rum Runner, a Zombie, and a Punch Bowl (recommended for two). But I am the only one with a tiki-themed anything at the place. Blazing through it, I find myself wishing for what Dallas scarcely ever had: a tiki dive bar.

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How to Cure a Hangover in Dallas

Categories: Drinking

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Courtesy of SusieDrinksDallas
The Anvil has the cure for ails you, and also what ails you.
This post marks the end of Drinking Week here at City of Ate, where we spent the week drooling over Dallas' best cocktails, learning the secrets of the cocktail-making trade, professing our love for simple, classic drinks and our disdain for the opposite.

Now, everything hurts. So we asked some of our writers to share their go-to Dallas hangover cures, free to use whenever you wake up with a dry mouth, a blinding headache and one fewer credit card in your wallet.

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One Nostalgia Place Is the Shitty Bar of My Dreams

Categories: Drinking

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Google Street View
Cocktails Dancing is the best.
It's Drinking Week at City of Ate, which means even more stories than usual about our favorite pastime. Check back for more stories about craft beer, killer bartenders and more.

I had always wanted to go to Cocktails Dancing (6521 Abrams Road). On Abrams Road, right next door to a Title Max and a tire shop, it appeared to be the perfect dive bar. I waited to go there for about two years out of the simple fear that it would not live up to my dirty, seedy hopes and dreams.

I wanted to keep it pure in my mind, with its shuffleboard and its snarky bartender who'll punch you in the tits if you ask for something mixology-ed. Say to this guy, "Can you just make me something, ya know, off the top of your head? I like sweet drinks," and he gets out a rocks glass, fills it with whiskey and tells you, "This one is not on the house." Two perfect old ladies with Patsy Cline wigs play shitty darts. The Leg Lamp from A Christmas Story sits above the bar, in some kind of Chili's crapstorm of Americana that was there before Chili's existed. This was my dream of Cocktails Dancing.

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Kombucha + Beer Is a Thing in Dallas

Categories: Drinking

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Is it beer? Is it a fermented tea with live cultures? It's, it's...

After the beer ice cream and pouring beer on cereal, I told myself I was going to stay away from tricked up beer combinations for awhile. Dallas breweries are making loads of interesting, delicious beers, so why not celebrate a well-made brew on its own terms? 

Then, I received a cryptic text from an old friend: "buchabeer. 2.8. come get some tomorrow."

Buchabeer could only mean one thing: Kombucha + Beer.  For the uninitiated, kombucha is a fermented sweet tea that claims a variety of health benefits due to the presence of live bacteria cultures. If you've seen a yoga-pantsed woman wandering the aisles of Whole Foods drinking a bottle of something that appears to be carbonated Hi-C, there's a good chance it was kombucha. 

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