Thursday, September 25, 2014

Serrano Pepper - Celery Gimlet

Drink: Serrano Pepper-Celery Gimlet
Type: Alcoholic
From: Extra Virgin
Price: $10
Description: Cool

Hopping up to the bar at Extra Virgin on a Tuesday afternoon, I was pleased to see Berto Santoro bartending, not only because he's incredibly talented (recently named Best Bartender by KC Magazine), but because he's also ridiculously nice and fun to be around. I asked him to make me something delicious, and he sure did deliver.

The drink: cool, spicy, refreshing, crisp.

Most people are probably used to the coolness from a lime cocktail, but the addition of celery adds a whole other level of crispness that is really nice. The pepper adds a tickle of spice in the back of the throat and great flavor without being overpowering or too spicy. It's a very well-balanced cocktail, super sip-able and very fun.

Arturo's Diva's Sangria

Drink: Arturo's Diva's Sangria
Type: Alcoholic
From: Tannin Wine Bar
Price: $10
Description: Tart

Nestled at Walnut Street and 16th is one of the nicest wine bars in Kansas City. Tannin offers a wine for every palate, with both by-the-glass and bottle options along with wine clubs that include specials, lockers, and discounted events. Along with wonderful wines, the food menu is spectacular. Get the crab dip to snack on while you sip on a glass in the upscale and comfortable space.

The drink: citrusy, light, sweet, smooth.

Made with LFV Rose, Salers, Pisco Capel, lemon, grapefruit, simple syrup, cava, and fresh fruit, this wonderfully tart and citrusy sangria has a natural and light sweetness to it. The wine has a warm spiciness that compliments the coolness from the citrus and temperature. It makes for a perfect cocktail for sipping on the patio on these warm fall afternoons.

Cafe au Lait

Drink: Cafe au Lait
Type: Coffee
From: Mildred's Coffeehouse
Price: $2.45
Description: Smooth

With locations both in The Crossroads and downtown on Main, this family owned and run coffeehouse has a very laid-back vibe that's perfect for settling down with a book or chatting up with friends. A cafe au lait is brewed coffee with steamed milk and foam. Mildred's has a brewed coffee station where you select your brew while the barista whips up the milk and foam. I chose the Mildred's Blend drip coffee, fully caffeinated.

The drink: creamy, light, nutty, smooth.

The foam was really great - it was fluffy, long lasting, and plenty of it. The Mildred's Blend coffee was mild, smooth, and nutty. All in all, a wonderful combination that I easily could have had multiple cups of. With the open and light space in the Crossroads location, it's a truly lovely and wonderful coffeehouse.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Old Square

Drink: The Old Square
Type: Alcoholic
From: Bluestem
Price: $11
Description: Perfect

I feel like I have a lot of favorite cocktails, but this one from Bluestem is perfection in a double old-fashioned glass. The Old Overholt rye whiskey (my favorite) mixes well with the Benedictine, brandy, and sweet vermouth.

The drink: spicy, tart, herbal, sweet

The addition of the flamed orange peel adds a great amount of citrus aroma to this wonderfully proportioned cocktail. With the newly renovated space in Westport and potentially the best Happy Hour in the city, it's really a can't miss.


Drink: Sangria
Type: Alcoholic
From: Port Fonda
Price: $8.50
Description: Floral

Alright. Let me start with the fact that it's a little ridiculous that I would go to an amazing restaurant and bar that specializes in Mezcal and not get one of their cocktails with Mezcal. If you get the opportunity to make it to Westport, be sure and at least stop by Port Fonda for a stigi. (The lovely and talented Caitlin Corcoran can explain the awesome history and tradition behind that) Unfortunately, I have an aversion to agave and can't have Tequila or Mezcal. With that aside, let's move on to this awesome Sangria.

The drink: light, fizzy, summery, citrusy

This sangria isn't overly sweet (although mine didn't include the agave, so yours might be a tad more on the sweet side), but it's definitely not syrupy. The flavors of peach, brandy, and hibiscus really compliment the tartness of the orange and lime alongside the perfect amount of rioja (red wine).

Cali Cola

Drink: Cali Cola
Type: Coffee / Soda
From: One More Cup
Price: $2.75
Description: Balanced

During the Spring Caffeine Crawl, we sampled this unique beverage at One More Cup, and I'm not entirely sure why it took me so long to get another. Mexican Coke with a shot of toddy makes for a perfectly bubbly beverage, especially nice for warm Fall afternoons.

The drink: sweet, earthy, fun, tangy

The use of Mexican Coke (which is made with natural sugar) really adds to the flavor. It's not syrupy, and as a non-soda drinker (for the most part), the toddy cuts through some of the sweetness and adds a depth to the overall flavor.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

KC Sour

Drink: KC Sour
Type: Alcoholic
From: The Drop Bistro
Price: $7.50
Description: Citrusy

Located at Martini Corner, this upscale bistro is both casual and comfortable. The Drop, along with having a small patio, lovely bar, and comfortable seating, plays a brilliant playlist. They have Happy Hour Monday - Friday 3pm - 7pm and again from 10pm - Close with both food and drink specials, and a "Drink of the Moment" available.

I almost went for the Red Wine Martini, since the bar has a wide selection of wines and I was intrigued by the combination of wine and martinis, but when I saw the KC Sour featuring Dark Horse bourbon I had to have it.

The drink: sour, tart, cold, spicy.

Made with Dark Horse bourbon, lemon, and red wine, this cocktail is sour without being too sweet or sugary, and the spiciness from the bourbon blends well with the red wine while the lemon adds a lightness and keeps it from feeling heavy.

Appalachian Sangria

Drink: Appalachian Sangria
Type: Alcoholic
From: Barrel 31
Price: $7 / $4 hh
Description: Bourbony

Perhaps bourbony isn't an actual word, but it certainly describes this cocktail. During Barrel 31's happy hour weekday 3pm-6:47 (the time Jack Daniels was supposed to have died) this boozy sangria is only $4, along with great food, beer, and whiskey specials. 

The drink: sweet, citrusy, light, summery.

Made with straight rye, citrus, and red zinfandel, this lovely cocktail is tart and tasty. With the happiest of happy hours available, loads of whiskey options, whiskey flights, and delicious food options, this new Kansas City Whiskey Bar at Martini Corner is worth a trip to just south of downtown. 

Lavender Latte

Drink: Lavender Latte
Type: Coffee
From: City Market Coffee House
Price: $3.55
Description: Smooth

Through social media I learned that the City Market Coffee House was selling their house-made lavender syrup and immediately planned a trip in order to get some. Yes, yes, I could have made my own, but it came so widely recommended and I've been working at Manifesto a lot recently, so I couldn't resist.

Emily, the barista working, was incredibly friendly and knowledgeable, allowing me to sample several of the coffee houses specials including the Hippie - cold brew, honey, and soy milk and completely delicious, as well as the house-made cold press coffee itself, which had a very smooth, non-bitter flavor with a richness similar to peanut butter. Emily also made the perfect recommendation of the iced Lavender Latte - one of the most popular beverages.

The drink: light, creamy, sweet, complimentary.

Made with cold press coffee, half almond milk, half soy milk, and lavender syrup the drink is perfectly smooth, naturally sweet and well mixed. The lavender syrup compliments the cold press coffee flavor and the milks compliment each other very well without overpowering the other flavors.

Monday, September 1, 2014

S.D. Strong Distilling

When I tried Rusty Horse Tavern in Parkville for the first time, I saw this distillery's vodka featured in one of the cocktails. I'd heard of the distillery located in the caves, and I was pretty excited about the local aspect of it all.

Located at the caves under Park University at Pillar 136, the renovated corporate space has a simplistic and cozy feel. Lisa and Steve Strong were kind enough to give me a sneak peak at their unique space. It really embraces the cave aesthetic with a great bar for tasting and entertaining.

The 200 gallon still is from an artisan in main sits in front of the iconic handlebar mustachioed man in the small space. Steve started at home making vodkas and moonshines, and S.D. Strong Vodka was put on the market in 2013 after starting the business in 2012.

The week my sister and I toured the space, Steve had just gotten a gin basket to start making gin, where he plans to add botanicals to the distilled gin for a cleaner, whiter spirit, and can do individual botanicals at a time to add flavor depth. 

I'm especially looking forward to the whiskey that will eventually come out of this distillery. Steve currently has two barrels of whiskey, the first rye was barreled in May of 2013 and despite the grain flavor that is still present, is pretty spectacular. Having only previous experience with vodka, Steve was unsure of how the whiskey would turn out. Pleased with the first barrel, he's started a second barrel and will continue to monitor and hopefully put out some S. D. Strong Rye within the next few years. 

The vodka made at this distillery is clear, light, and clean, without any real bitterness or harshness. Having grown up in Parkville, I find the idea of a distillery in the caves really perfect for this quaint Missouri town just north of the river. Once the space is open for events and tours, make sure to head out there and let Steve and Lisa give you the run down with their knowledge and friendliness.