Three local watering holes — Jack Allen’s Kitchen, Lucy’s Fried Chicken and drink.well. — sound off on their favorite summer drinks.
David Toby, head bartender at Jack Allen’s Kitchen, picked these four libations as his summer faves. Ranging from crisp cucumber-cool with jalapeno heat to a surprise whiskey refreshment with Round Rock honey, these drinks offer up something slightly different.
All of their cocktails are hand-shaken and carefully crafted — basil leaves are crushed, peppers are seeded, and ingredients are as locally sourced as possible.
“I want to use as many local ingredients as possible: herbs from local farms, figs from Boerne, whiskey from San Antonio,” Toby says.“My favorite of these four is the Round Rock Bee Keeper. It’s not as popular as the others, but those who do order it get it again and again.”
1. Cucumber Jalapeño Rita: local Texas spirit Ambhar Resposado tequila, St. Germain, muddled cucumber, fresh jalapeños, simple syrup and fresh lime (photo above)
Served with a straw, but better sipped from the rim, this peppery, cool cocktail can be made spicier if you think you can handle it. A sprig of fresh cilantro floats on top and fills your nose with coriander goodness and the cucumber is refreshing and bright.
Smooth and smokey with a sweet finish, this drink is grown up and sophisticated and perfect for a relaxed summer night.
3. Tito’s Sage and Grapefruit Splash: Tito’s Handmade vodka, St. Germain, simple syrup, muddled fresh sage and fresh grapefruit
Their most popular drink on the menu, this cocktail finished with a splash of soda water fizzes and pops with bright herbal and citrus notes. It’s an unexpected combination of flavors that blend into a perfect swallow.
Toby likes to suggest this drink instead of a traditional Cosmo. It’s got a slightly sweet finish and delightfully fruity-bitter notes. Definitely better than any old Cosmo.
Lucy’s Fried Chicken, off of South Congress and Oltorf, offers up two herb-y, local drinks perfect for the summer months: the Lucy Basilia and Texas Whiskey Revival. Paired with a golden-brown bucket o’ chicken you can’t go wrong with either of these breezy drinks.
In a pint glass muddle together basil and blackberries. Add lemon juice, honey, vodka, and ice. Give it a good shake and top with seltzer.
.75oz Balcones True Blue Whiskey
.75oz St Germain
1oz fresh lemon
1 bar spoon simple syrup (1:1 ratio hot water and sugar)
In a rocks glass add all the ingredients plus ice. Shake it up and put it back in the glass. Garnish with your favorite cherry and citrus combination. Our favorite is with candied orange peel and bourbon cherries when they are in season.
Jessica Sanders and her team at drink.well. have done it again with their innovative, fun and tasty recipes. Conveniently located in the North Loop neighborhood, drink.well. is constantly harvesting local supplies for fresh and uniquely Austin recipes. Drop by and sample their Speyside Swizzle in a fancy tiki cup, currently in the “Swizzle me Timbers!” section of their seasonal menu.
The Three Kings Punch is not currently on their menu, but will be soon!
Swizzle all ingredients in a tiki mug with crushed ice until frosty. Top with additional crushed ice and garnish with an orange wheel.
Three Kings Punch (NOT yet on the menu)
*The Rooibos currently being used is ZHI Tea Sweet Desert Delight, which is a Rooibos tea blend that includes coconut, cinnamon, cardamom, anise and cacao nib pieces.
Lucy’s Fried Chicken by John Davidson
drink.well. by Nick Conover
Jack Allen’s Kitchen (Pomegranate & Basil Martini by Rebecca Fondren; Round Rock Bee Keeper by Jody Horton; Tito’s Sage and Grapefruit Splash and Cucumber Jalapeno Rita courtesy of Jack Allen’s Kitchen)