The Paloma Cocktail at Dunston's Steakhouse Is Not Fancy, But You're Going To Love It

Categories: Drinking

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Amy McCarthy
Terrible photo, terrific cocktail.
As someone who grew up going to steakhouses with floors littered with peanut shells and decorated with old license plates, I appreciate the simplicity and straightforwardness of a place like Dunston's Steakhouse. The steaks are prime, the walls are unfinished, and the atmosphere is like a fancier Golden Corral, complete with a watery-looking yet entirely tempting salad bar.

The drinks, though, are much more refined than you might think. There are old school entries, like a classic Mai Tai made with orgeat syrup, pineapple juice and fresh rum. Orgeat syrup! Even the cheesier cocktails, like the coconut rum-and-moscato based Oceanside Coconut, are straightforward without a bunch of sweet syrups or other bartender's shortcuts. From my first glance at the menu, though, I knew I was going to be having a Paloma.

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Nine Band Brewery's Taproom Is Open in Allen, Its Beer Destined for a Tap Near You

Categories: Beer, Drinking

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Brent Nuss
So ... close ... to ... beer.
Nine Band Brewery in Allen opened its taproom doors for the first time over the weekend, because people in Allen deserve to slug high-ABV beers under the auspices of locavorism, too, OK?

Large, handmade wooden tables and stools fill the room, and a number of TVs line each wall. Open seating made finding a spot difficult on opening night. Happy-houring office workers and a few UT Dallas students packed the room.

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In the Quiet Hours at Proof + Pantry, Exploring the Magical World of Gimlets

Categories: Drinking

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Amy McCarthy
This is the best drink you're gonna have all week. YOU'RE WELCOME.
Even though I can't generally afford to drop 30 bucks on a bowl of pasta at Proof + Pantry, I do find myself occasionally wandering into the restaurant in the late afternoon hours. Between lunch and dinner service, Proof + Pantry closes the kitchen but keeps the bar open for a few quiet hours until the dinner rush.

The bar is small and often unoccupied in the afternoon, they play MSNBC instead of Fox News, and the cocktails are on point. It's the perfect place to have an early afternoon drink before braving the traffic up the Dallas North Tollway to my cocktail-deprived neighborhood on the outskirts of Addison. It is also where I discovered exactly how delicious a gin gimlet could really be.


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Remedy's Better Lemon Proves That Great Cocktails Don't Have to Be Complicated

Categories: Drinking

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courtesy Remedy
The Better Lemon, a better cocktail.
I have a long and sordid history with lemonade and vodka as a drinker. This classic combination has gotten me through countless college parties, New Year's Eves and other festive occasions. But I've been trying to drink better. I've stopped ordering vodka-cranberries at the bar, and I haven't had any kind of flavored martini in at least a year. Call it a crappy cocktail time-out, but drinking better cocktails isn't exactly much of a punishment.

I saw The Better Lemon on Mate Hartai's menu at Lower Greenville's Remedy on the first warm day after that last cold snap. My past drinking-proclivities made it absolutely impossible to pass up.

Recent cocktail reviews:
Henderson Avenue Country Club's Why The Long Face Cocktail Is Sweet, Happy Drinking
Midnight Rambler's Hell Hound Cocktail Will Help You Grow Up as a Drinker

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What We Lose When Dallas' Dive Bars Die

Categories: Drinking

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Mike Brooks
RIP, Club Schmitz
You may (or may not!) remember Club Schmitz. Everyone was talking about, blogging about and drinking inside the friendly dive last year as it served its last beers. Now, it's all but forgotten.

See also: Club Schmitz, One of Dallas' Best True Dive Bars, Could Get Gobbled by RaceTrac

I remembered it recently. A friend of mine is in and out of the country for extended stretches of time but was recently in town. He asked about Club Schmitz as a potential next stop on a weekend bar tour, and I had to break the bad news to him. "The best things you can get at that address now are Twinkies and gasoline," I told him. He looked sad, and then launched into tales about bars in Europe -- about how you can sit on stools inside pubs that have been pouring beers for many hundreds of years.

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Henderson Avenue Country Club's Why The Long Face Cocktail Is Sweet, Happy Drinking

Categories: Drinking

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Amy McCarthy
Red Solo cup, fancy drank, Shiner. It's a weird but delicious juxtaposition.
Vodka cocktails typically aren't very nuanced. They're poured from a well or an overpriced bottle of Grey Goose, then watered down with a squirt of cranberry juice or soda from those disgusting behind-the-bar guns. There is really no sense in making vodka more complicated than it has to be -- water it down to cut the burn and make it drinkable enough that you'll eventually black out.

But that doesn't mean mixologists can't try to fancy up a vodka drink. At Henderson Avenue Country Club, you'll find a cocktail just sweet enough to remind you of those black-out days without making you actually reconsider your old habit of mixing a handle of McCormick's vodka with a canister of Crystal Light lemonade powder.

See also: A First Look at Henderson Avenue Country Club

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Midnight Rambler's Hell Hound Cocktail Will Help You Grow Up as a Drinker

Categories: Drinking

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Amy McCarthy
The kind of cocktail that doesn't even last long enough to be photographed.
When you're drinking at a place like Midnight Rambler, you have to make it count. I wandered into the speakeasy-style bar in the basement of the Joule Hotel after dinner with friends, knowing that I was the fool who would soon be parting with her money. It's hard to find a cocktail on the menu here for less than $10, but that absolutely won't stop you from going into a financial hole to try them all, even if you're not exactly sure you're even drinking.

The menu at Midnight Rambler seems remarkably small until you realize that they've left off most of the classic drinks, your Manhattans and Negronis, that every bartender working at a bar of this caliber could make in their sleep. Even though the cocktail offerings only fill a few pages, they are surprisingly diverse. There are fancified tiki drinks, delicate Champagne cocktails, and sophisticated digestifs. There is even a bowl of punch that costs one hundred whole dollars. And then there is the Hell Hound.

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Meet the Marfa Cocktail Guru Who Will Infuse the Perot's Social Science Event Tonight

Jennifer Boomer
Don't put ginger ale in this you dilettante.
When Ashley North Compton isn't busy as a graphic designer or psychology graduate student, she is making homemade bitters and herbal infusions in her Marfa home. Compton's interest in homemade bitters and infusions is really a secret cover for her love of herbs.

"Herbs have really amazing restorative properties and many also happen to go really well with different liquors," says Compton. And she'll be sharing her love and knowledge of herbs, infusions and cocktails at two separate Dallas events this weekend as part of a partnership with Oil and Cotton, Oak Cliff's favorite collaborative creative space.

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Clark Food & Wine's Spicy Apple Cooler Is So Spicy, and Good, but Could Be Great

Categories: Drinking

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Amy McCarthy
Attack of the Killer Jalapeno.
The interior of Clark Food & Wine does not appeal to my bohemian sensibilities. It is too clean, too organized, and a place that I am likely to get kicked out of for swearing too loudly after several cocktails. Bars, in my estimation, are not intended to be neat and tidy places; this one very much is.

This is not an indictment of the concept, only an observation made on a recent visit. A row of mason jars filled with cocktail accoutrements like limes and cherries were tediously unscrewed and then closed again as each cocktail was garnished. This is the kind of place that is considered casual by people who ordinarily have their food brought to them by men in gloves.

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Malort Is the Punishing New Shot of Choice for Some Bartenders, in Dallas and Beyond

Categories: Drinking

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Seriously, nasty.
Belly up to a bar in Dallas these days (especially one that's an industry hangout) and chances are high you'll see shots of Fernet tossed back by the customers or staff. The Italian amaro has become an industry favorite, loved for its bitter, almost painful bite; it's a bartender's handshake. Eventually the bitter made its way to the other side of the bar, becoming a customer favorite as well.

Before Fernet, bartenders typically ordered shots of Jameson. It has endured as one of the most popular whiskeys for a quick fix, in Dallas and elsewhere. In short: customers love to throw back what they see their favorite bartenders throw back. It's how many of us drink.

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