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Hearty party


Local bartenders know how to make cocktails you can sink your teeth into as the savory drink trend gives “comfort food” a whole new meaning.

Danniel Parker January 15th, 2014

As chill factors dip below zero, drinkers traditionally gravitate toward the heavier drinks, like mulled wine, cider and nog.

Some have outgrown wanting their alcohol to taste like a candy basket and falling into diabetic coma. For people with more adult tastes, Oklahoma Gazette recommends a few savory cocktails while visiting the warm hearts (and hearths) of these locally prepped adult beverages.

First, we recommend a liquor store for real beer. Or, heck, visit an Oklahoma brewery. Beer is the dirt-cheap king of savory alcoholic beverages and can be bought just about everywhere. Find Oklahoma-made offerings from Choc Beer Co., Coop Ale Works, Marshall Brewing Company, Mustang Brewing Company ... the list is long (and filling).

But maybe that’s not what you’d choose. So let’s get serious — like, eat-your-drink, manly drink, cocktails-are-for-wimps serious.

For the more cultured, up-and-coming personality with more responsibilities (and more disposable income), there are many fine establishments that will work hard to earn your drink money.

Call them what you will, bartenders or mixologists, these drink-slingers have chef-level pride in their creations.


Ludivine:
Breakfast Flip
805 N. Hudson Ave.
$12
Ludivine’s bartender, Chris Barrett, said he finds the term mixologist to be pretentious. He prefers the term “spirit-ual adviser.”

Barrett says the savory star at downtown OKC’s farm-to-table restaurant and bar is its homemade bacon-infused bourbon.

“For the infusion, we cook the bacon with a little black pepper and brown sugar,” Barrett said. “Then we trim off the fat and drop the bacon in the bourbon and let it sit for over a week.”

The sip he provided proved that over thirty years into America’s baconmania craze, the flavor can still be made interesting as something more than just an internet meme. It’ll get you drunk.

Bacon bourbon gave Barrett an idea: “Why not serve a whole breakfast in a glass?” A Breakfast Flip (above) contains bacon bourbon, a whole egg, orange cognac and maple syrup. In the end, its look and taste is quite reminiscent of an umami-charged eggnog that’s garnished with a crispy lardon.


Red PrimeSteak:
Downton Abbey
504 N. Broadway Ave.
$9

Another high-end downtown eatery is throwing its hat into the ring of savory drinks just a few blocks away.

As a seasonal beverage, the Downton Abbey works as a light alternative or complement to the other heavy foods and drinks of winter. Red manager Justin Neely said they named the drink after the aristocratic British drama because of its similarity to the classic English Garden cocktail.

“We take chunks of cucumber, and we muddle it with fresh basil and lime juice,” Neely said. “Then we fill it with gin and soda. Finally, we float a little Elderflower liqueur on top.”

It was exceptionally refreshing without tasting of sugar. Picture a sour, herbal mojito with the chlorophyll smoothness of cucumber.

Lindsey Adams, a customer at Red Prime, took a sip and told us, “It tastes like a springtime drink. But (during holidays), I could eat all the turkey I wanted and still have room to knock a few of these back.”


The HiLo Club:
Bloody Mary
1121 NW 50 St.
$5

If you can afford fine cuisine, that’s fine. You don’t need to splurge to have a good time.

The HiLo Club is mistaken by squares as a gay bar because there are probably a few LGBT folks there (everyone is welcome, always), every once in a while people are seen dancing and sports center isn’t radiating out of a dozen screens. The HiLo is, hands-down, a fun and affordable place to drink. Sure, the Bloody Mary is the most obvious choice for a savory cocktail. But bartender Topher Sauceda said The HiLo Club eschews tradition and has perfected the drink over many years.

“We make our own mixture out of vegetable and tomato juice, pickle juice, spicy asparagus pickle juice, olive brine and Worcestershire sauce,” said Sauceda. “Then we add celery salt, black pepper and freshly grated horseradish.”

He said the Bloody Mary is especially popular on Sunday as an add-on to a free brunch buffet. He recommends using Monopolowa, one of the last vodkas still made from potatoes. “It’s a perfect drink for when you’ve been partying all weekend and you’re nursing a hangover. It’s the staple,” Sauceda said.

HiLo patron Dustin Wallace praised its work: “Their Bloody Mary is one of the best. Fresh, spicy, they’re practically a meal unto themselves. Also The HiLo’s drinks are strong as (a firetruck).”


The Lobby Bar and Cafe:
Needle and Thread
inside the Will Rogers Theater at 4322 N. Western Ave.
$10

Somewhere in between expensive and cheap is The Lobby Café and Bar. It serves moderately priced tapas and cocktails in ambiance for dates.

Bar manager Christopher Angel said he had that name before magician Chriss Angel made it suck. Angel also said The Lobby unveiled its winter drink menu, which includes a new savory special.

He had the idea of a savory variation on the Manhattan and just ran with it. The kick and base of the drink is bourbon, Amaro liqueur and bitters. From there, the recipe curves into chemistry territory.

“We add in a smoked salt tincture we make and charred rosemary. So it’s smokey, herbal and warm from the bourbon. Then, to put it over the top, we garnish it with fresh lemon zest,” said Angel. “We’re calling it Needle and Thread due to the evergreen nature of the rosemary,” he said.

 
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