Before it gets sweltering hot, the multicolored picnic tables outside Lucy's Fried Chicken are the best seats for a few baskets of chicken and some cold drinks. They've built the tables around a large tree that provide some shade, which conveniently prevents drinks from melting too quickly.
Lucy's cocktail menu can be summed up as fun, refreshing, and very Texan. In addition to incorporating familiar Southern ingredients like jalapeno, lime, and hot sauce, owner James Holmes sources liquors from local distilleries whenever possible.
When creating the funky yet uncomplicated drinks menu, the bar staff, led by Kendra Thompson, decided against sticking to pre-prohibition classics. As she explained, many Austin bars already excel that style, and it doesn't suit the vibe at Lucy's. Instead, the menu draws from the classics for inspiration, but syncs the drinks with their largely deep-fried food offerings. Lots of herbs, citrus, and ginger to help cut through the richness of chicken-fried-everything from gizzards, deviled eggs, to yup, mountain oysters.
Speaking of oysters, it took manager Jerry Reid some trial and error to develop an oyster shooter recipe that's wholly Texan. The Chicken Lips layers your choice of Dripping Springs Vodka or El Jimador Blanco Tequila with a raw Gulf oyster, a splash of spicy tomato juice, and a dash of hot sauce. The kicker: they rimmed the glass with a mixture of salt and ground crispy chicken skin. A pinch of fried chicken crumbles puts it over the top—the result is a spicy, crunchy, and briny shot that whets your appetite and your thirst. When asked why they named it Chicken Lips, the staff laughed and explained that shooting it is sort of like making out with a chicken—that works for me.
To stay hydrated in the Texas heat, you may want to turn to fruitier drinks. The Lucy Basilia is essentially a grown up fruit punch with muddled basil leaves and blackberry as the base. The juicy berries and fresh basil made this drink more of a gulper than a sipper. The Watermelon Crawl, on the other hand, tasted more like watermelon jello with a dash of gin.
If you lean toward more booze-forward concoctions, go for the Texas Whiskey Revival, made with Balcones True Blue Whiskey, a local blue corn whiskey. The bold whiskey was brightened with citrus and rounded off with a bit of St. Germain. The Donkey Show is a rum variation on a Moscow Mule: citrusy, herbal, and extra gingery from muddled fresh ginger root and Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur.
If you're a fan of the classic cocktail The Bee's Knees, you'll love Lucy's Texan variation, the Bee Sting. It starts with Austin's local Republic Tequila Reposado, which is shaken with lemon juice, honey, and jalapeno for earthiness and heat. It's full of flavor but easy to make at home, too.
If you're in Austin soon, you can enjoy the sun at Lucy's with one of these Texas thirst quenchers. Or click over to the recipes to make them at home!