Booze News: Wizards, witches and bisque

Cocktail challenges continue, wands and robes are coming out

CHRIS WEST, Evergreen columnist

I finally had the opportunity to go to Birch & Barley, at the behest of many locals about town. There, you’ll find a nice bartender named Hannah Sprague. She accepted a Cocktail Roulette Challenge and made a “Bushmills Blackberry Mule.”

You won’t find this on the menu, and only she can make it as delicious as it was. Combining blackberry compote, ginger beer, a little bit of lime and a healthy dose of Bushmills Irish Whiskey in one of the oh-so-fun copper mugs, she cut her bartending teeth very well. Props to you, Hannah, you will do just fine in the world of booze.

I would also like to commend Rose Posadas at Rico’s Public House for taking a classic from 1970s Las Vegas and making a surprisingly simple twist to create a very refreshing drink that I very may add to my list of “Things to drink when I’m not at home, but probably on vacation somewhere, most likely on a cruise ship.”

The “Singapore Sling,” traditionally made with gin and a little mezcal on the side, was instead made with Ketel One vodka, some sour mix, juice from maraschino cherries and splashed with soda. The metallic and sharp bite of Ketel One was made the more appealing by the sweetness of the cherry to make a refreshing cocktail in the middle of fall.

The winner, however, of the Cocktail Roulette Challenge this week has to go to John Leonardson at Etsi Bravo for making the signature cocktail of the famous 19th century gentleman’s club, “The Pegu Club.” This classy drink of old is served in a coupe glass with gin, curacao, lime bitters and flavored with an orange liqueur called Bauchant. This rounded out this week’s apparent theme of “Refreshing badass drinks served in the fall with an air of classiness, floral aromas and spicy orange goodness.”

Moving on to wine: Merry Cellars had another release party over the weekend, where they released their 2015 Syrah and 2015 Merlot. Both wines are absolutely perfect.

The Merlot drink is awesome, with notes of fresh cigar tobacco and ripe black cherries, and a soft mouth feel that you normally get when you drink Fiji water.

The Syrah was even better, tasting of juicy raspberries, a little smoke and kitchen spice and kind of felt like that talking strawberry from “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2” was hugging your tongue. Let that sink in.

Also, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that Patrick Merry also served the northern hemisphere’s best smoked tomato and Gouda bisque. I had six bowls and I am not ashamed.

On to new events going down: For all you Harry Potter fans out there, Rico’s Pub is hosting the Get Back to Hogwarts Party from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Nov. 29. Harry Potter-themed drinks, food and trivia, as well as costume contests will be held. Words cannot describe this kind of awesome.

Come dressed in your house colors, wizard robes, wands, scarves, whatever. Because there’s nothing like a bunch of intellectuals drinking copious amounts of themed drinks dressed in a way that once would have been justification to be executed publicly, all gathered in one place.

Just imagine all the dirty Harry Potter puns that will be floating around. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at the Cougar Entertainment Center (the laser tag place, if you don’t know). That said, as always, be safe my friends and bottoms up.

Chris West is a sophomore viticulture and enology major from Plano, Texas. He can be contacted at [email protected].