You've read enough of these intros from the rest of the gang, so let's just get to my list of five favorite drinks, shall we?
5. The "That's What She Said" at CUCINA enoteca
There are drinks you order because it's your usual. There are drinks you order to get drunk in as few sips as possible. But then there are those drinks you order because the name made you laugh, and also, made everyone else at the table laugh. The "That's What She Said" is that kind of drink. The drink itself is no joke. Even Lulu De Rouen, the restaurant's chef, counts it as her favorite. And yes, it is a stiff drink, concocted from Dewar's Scotch, Carpano Antica Formula and Cynar, which is an artichoke-based bitter usually sipped as a digestif. Here, it's in the background, a cleansing presence on the palate while the vermouth-sweetness laces the mouth and the Scotch burns the inner cheek. Let the ice melt a bit more and the drink softens into a doppelgänger of herbal iced tea that you can chug easily. At this rate, you can go all night. That's what she said.
4. Bistro Champagne Lemonade at Paul Martin's
Paul Martin's closest peer is Houston's--a corporate eatery whose restraint means a classy, no-nonsense way of operating a restaurant. This is reflected most in Paul Martin's specialty cocktails. There are exactly seven priced at $9 each ranging from a very legitimate mojito which would've pleased even the mojito-loving Ernest Hemingway, to a drink actually named after the author with vanila rum, marachino cherry and ruby red juice. The best drink, though, has to be the bistro champagne lemonade, which seems the only house libation that the restaurant takes two lines to describe. It starts with a house-infused meyer lemon vodka, which is mixed with lemon juice, fresh basil and then topped off with a pour of Gloria Ferrer champagne. In the sipping, it tastes and fizzes very much like other hard lemonades you've had at backyard barbecues, though not as cloyingly sweet. And then there's the refreshing herbal notes of the basil, which makes it a nice chaser to that rich and bloody steak you should've also ordered.
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