CU29's meat infusions aren't limited to Franklin Barbecue brisket: they also make a peppered turkey gin.
Our guide to great Austin happy hours that you may not have visited yet.
When diners arrive at Paul Qui's long awaited formal restaurant, simply named qui, they are first escorted to the bar, where bar manager Michael Simon and his team shake up pre-dinner beverages that can also be sipped on the restaurant's spacious patio. "There are lots of savory elements to the drinks," said Simon. "They're boozy but balanced; salty, sweet, and sour, so they can pair well with food."
On a trip to New York City, veteran Austin bartender Scranton Twohey visited 27 bars in 4 days, and after returning, he lamented the lack of creativity in Austin's cocktail scene. Twohey softly opened Whisler's in the old Rabbit Lounge on East 6th in mid-May, and allowed the word to spread organically.
A few weeks ago, head bartender Phil Vuong and his team launched a brand new beer cocktail menu at Brew Exchange in Austin. Shandies may dot beer menus around Austin, but this is the first complete beer cocktail menu that I've found in the city.
At the recently-opened Craft Pride on Rainey Street in Austin, Brandy and J.T. Egli serve Texas-brewed beer, and only Texas-brewed beer. They're serving beers from 23 Texas breweries out of 54 draughts and 2 casks.
For those who plan to spend their trip to SXSW—or any trip to Austin, really—staying up late and, maybe, possibly, consuming lots of tacos and booze: a solid morning (or afternoon or even evening) coffee is going to be of the utmost importance. Thus, we offer a quick guide to some of the finest cafes in this land of sensory indulgence.
It's rare to find a bar menu in Austin that doesn't have at least one margarita on it, and it's no wonder that this simple concoction is so well loved under the Texas sun. The combination of lime, tequila, and orange liqueur has the ability to quench thirst and make even the worst heat more bearable. We drank our way around Austin to find the best examples possible.
Mixing punch is a fun and festive way to serve up cocktails without the fuss, especially for New Year's Eve. Punches are intended to encourage socializing—break out the big bowl and the ladle, hand everyone a glass, and the party has officially started. We polled a few of our favorite Austin-area bartenders for punch recipes, and the results are festive, bright, and easy-drinking.
They shake them, strain them, and pour them, but where do they drink 'em? Austin is home to many great bartenders who can make a mean drink. They also listen to guests ramble on about their problems, break up bar fights, and clean up spilled beers. After a long shift, it's their turn to unwind. We asked 8 bartenders about their favorite watering holes, whether they're looking for craft beer, calm outdoor space, or classy cocktails.
Drawing inspiration from his travels and La Condesa's food menu, bar manager Nate Wales incorporates lesser known ingredients into the drinks. He uses sotol in a spin on the Salty Dog, and mixes up his own fermented pineapple spirit for an unusual margarita. Here are 5 recipes so you can make these drinks at home.
The newly designed space suggests a Victorian-era brothel, with antique mirrors, plush leather booths, and lush wallpapers. A sultry vibe lingers in the private rooms in the back. Flick on the signal light switch and someone will come to your service. Here's our first look at the cocktails they're serving.
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.
Forrest Rogness studied photography at the University of Iowa for five years, where he learned the intricacies of framing the subjects in his pictures. Fortunately for the Austin beer community, Rogness transferred that knowledge to another craft. He says, "[It] was a natural progression into homebrewing—making beers and focusing on composition and balance." Rogness and his wife Diane recently founded Rogness Brewing Company in Pflugerville, Texas, a small suburb located fourteen miles northeast of Austin.
Bar manager Jeff Hammett brings humor and a bit of snark to the approachable cocktail menu. While he's all for the the fine craft cocktail movement, he doesn't like to take himself too seriously. "Never call me a mixologist", he warned. Fun and flavor are on the forefront of his creations and each quirky name has a story to tell.
New bar manager Jason Stevens offers an ambitious new cocktail menu at Bar Congress in Austin. His focus on crafting his own ingredients to boost flavors in his cocktails borders on obsession. Stevens looked to Colonial-American fruit preserving methods and makes a number of seasonal shrubs, and he jazzes up a boring gin and tonic with hop-infused gin and a homemade tonic spiced with herbes de Provence, grapefruit peel, cassia, and black pepper. Here's a preview of his newest creations.
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.
The menu showcases a pretty wide range of classic and modern cocktails, but their collection of creative whiskey libations is particularly impressive. On chillier evenings (by Texas standards), you'll want to unwind with a Duck Fat Sazerac (and an order of the velvety truffle egg custard on crusty bread.) Not in Texas? You can still enjoy Brandon Burkart's drinks, since he was kind enough to share the recipes with us.
Texas might be famous for many of its culinary contributions—brisket barbecue, for instance, and a sizzling-hot platters of fajitas—but coffee? Maybe not yet, but Mike McKim of small-but-mighty Austin-based specialty coffee roaster Cuvée has something to say about that.
How often does a happy hour sign outside convince you to actually walk in? We were technically already headed to the Liberty Bar in Austin, but the chalkboard sign out front confirmed this was the right place, right time. "Hoppy Hours 4-9, Ery Day Fools!" (How convenient, that's today.)