Kathryn Weatherup lounged on white garden chairs in a flowy, orange tube dress. She glanced through large sunglasses that covered much of her face as she flipped through 12 pages of cocktails with me. I wondered if she could pass as an Austinite. After all, she's only been here for six months and has barely soaked up the sun.
Weatherup, a renowned NYC bartender and the proprietor of Weather Up in Brooklyn, and Tribeca, first visited Austin to watch a friend's bike race and quickly grew fond of the city. "Austin has lots of great coffee, beer, and cocktails, and a lot of good energy," she says. So she trucked her philosophy down to Texas—the third and latest Weather Up is located on Cesar Chavez in East Austin.
Wanting to "go big and do it Texas style", the menu at the Austin branch contains 108 classic cocktails. They're divided by spirit and subdivided into six preparations: on the rock, shaken up, tall & cool, stirred up, served long, and fizzes, flips & sours.
Weatherup's goal is to showcase ice, which to her is the most important element in cocktails. She makes 300 pound block ice with a Clinebell ice maker meant for ice sculptors. It produces slabs of ice that are crystal clear and free from impurities. The ice is then precisely cut, cracked, crushed to order.
The bar's vintage interior is decorated with subway tiles and a gleaming copper bar. Outside, the spacious patio area is strewn with lightly distressed lawn furniture to relax on with a carefully crafted drink or three.
Click through the slideshow to see a few of the cocktails from Weather Up Austin's vast selection, as well as their recipe for a summery gin-and-ginger drink, the Suffering Bastard.
1808 East Cesar Chavez Street, Austin, Texas (map)