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No more jager bombs and vodka redbulls!

d
dickinsongators Sep 5, 2007 12:16 PM

Why cant I find any bartenders in this great city of Austin to make a good cocktail. Being a bartender through college, I know it takes a bartender the right skills and pouring technique to come up with a fabulous drink. Everyone knows to avoid 6th street if your looking for a classic cocktail or something unique. So I made my way down to the Belmont to order a Mai- Tai, to find out they use oj and pineapple juice out of the gun YUK! So I went down to SFA hotel to order a Manhattan when the bartender told me he thinks I should have a Makers Mark on the rocks instead. So where does a lady in her mid 30s go to get a good cocktail in this city of Mexican Martinis and Mojitos?

  1. atxryan Apr 29, 2008 11:33 AM

    I've heard very good things about the bartender at The Clay Pit on Guadalupe (near 15th). This guy is a career bartender and takes his craft very seriously from what I've been told. Regrettably, I've yet to go there for a drink but this post reminds me I need to.

    2 Replies
    1. re: atxryan
      f
      fuul_for_love Apr 29, 2008 02:14 PM

      I second the Clay Pit. Nice atmosphere (no TV! yay!), low-key during the week. Happens to be in walking distance for me (and a better option than Dog & Duck). The two regular bartenders -- a black guy with thin dreds and a shorter white guy -- both know what they're doing. Their wine options are ok but not that great.

      1. re: fuul_for_love
        s
        specialcheese Apr 30, 2008 07:13 AM

        Yes!! I also highly recommend Dred at the Clay Pit - Yes that is his name and it fits him perfectly! He makes the best Manhattan in town! I have also had great luck with Four Seasons and the Driskell for traditional cocktails made to perfection.

    2. a
      Austintt Sep 8, 2007 10:52 AM

      I know it will be a bad reply, but try gay bar like OCH and Rain... I find the gay bar are better place for fancy cocktail, since gay people order more cocktail that college dude who only order beer on 6th street. Four Season also a good place too but I just hate the price.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Austintt
        s
        singlemalt Sep 8, 2007 11:57 AM

        I think you make a good point. Sometime ago on an alternative and now non existant foodie site someone pointed out that some of them, I believe OCH, had terrific happyhour prices. And I agree with you about the sophistication of the clientele in drinking, although I do not have any first hand experience. BTW, the only time anyone tried to pick me up in a bar it was a gay guy. Boy, was he embarressed. Hell, I was complimented although I am totally straight.

      2. s
        singlemalt Sep 8, 2007 06:58 AM

        I feel your pain, to some degree, that is, to the degree that I get out and about and have a cocktail. I have taught about a half dozen people in this city and others out of this city how to make a Negroni. A very simple drink, can be, or one that takes more skill if poured and layered. It is not a new concoction. Bottom line here is that I have faith, so far, in the barmen at Vespaio. They somehow make the best Negroni's I have ever had. Don't know what they do but I cannot duplicate. Recently I was reading about the French 75, another drink that has been around a few years. When I walked to V. for dinner I stopped at the bar and asked can you make one. That baldheaded guy said he didn't know what it was so I said thank you and went to my table. Within 5 minutes the waitress brought me a French 75. They had lookediit up and made one. Now it was my first one and recipes vary greatly for that drink but to me it was too tart.The idea here is that these guys seem to know their stuff and are willing to work for you. They also keep Fernet Branca, is that correct, and let me sample it. I agree with you that most of the bars here limit themselves to G and T's, V and T's, and the like. Happy tippling.

        1. g
          gulch Sep 7, 2007 07:34 PM

          i forgot to mention Houston's. Please do not get on me about it being a chain. They fresh squeeze the juice in front of you!! Order a mai tai there, it will not disappoint!

          1 Reply
          1. re: gulch
            catarata Sep 9, 2007 12:11 PM

            Yes! I love Houston's drinks - their fruit is always ripe and fresh. I've never been disappointed there!

          2. t
            tipsytexan Sep 7, 2007 06:36 PM

            For a town with no shortage of places to drink, it is so hard to find a Cocktail.
            About that Belmont Mai Tai...nevermind that the juices come out of a gun, a Mai Tai should never have pineapple and orange juice in the first place. Though recipes vary with regards to proportion, they all pretty much agree on the basics: Aged rum, triple sec, fresh lime, Orgeat or Falernum, and simple (even Old Mr. Blah-ston, the worst and yet most ubiquitous cocktail manual, doesn't have orange and pineapple.) I'm floored that they put something that is not a Mai Tai on a menu and called it a Mai Tai. If they put a hamburger on the menu and served you a hot dog, you would send it back. But so few people in A-town know about the classic cocktails that a hot spot bar like the Belmont can get away with this.
            I second the accolades for the Peacock, at least they are putting forth the effort. Starlite has a good cocktail menu, and DeVille makes a good drink. Chris at Botticellis is working on it, and so is David at Ms. B's. I highly recommend checking him out and giving him your feedback, as you can tell he's putting a lot of work in to it. He was, as far as I know, the first to put Q Tonic on the menu within a week of it coming to town.
            The most pervasive problem with most "classic" drinks in this town is that they often use the least classic ingredient of all, which is MIX. Bottled, canned, or bag-in-a-box mixes and juices do not result in good cocktails. Fresh squeezed is the way to go, or at least Goodflow or the like. None of the pre-prohibition, golden era cocktail manuals call for these tired mixes, and neither should you.

            1. Nab Sep 6, 2007 03:08 PM

              I like the Club DeVille suggestion, they know their cocktails pretty well. Much better on weeknights in my experience.

              The other places I can recall having proper cocktails were at the bar in Eddie Vs and also at the bar at Trulucks (if I recall correctly). Oh, and there's one great bartender at the Hilton/Finn&Porter bar.

              You could always go to the Four Seasons and get a Bat-tini. <j/k>

              2 Replies
              1. re: Nab
                s
                scrumptiouschef Sep 6, 2007 04:49 PM

                I'm surprised this post has survived the rigorous vetting of the Chow monitors....Lately when I've been in the mood for properly mixed delicious cocktails I've wended my way towards Lovejoys on Neches.The margaritas are well balanced and tasty and they have a nice selection of Irish whiskeys and Kentucky Bourbons....ambience,as always is wonderful;Minor Threat and Cherubs on the jukebox and a diverse crowd of squares and scenesters jostling about the bar.Shoot some pool,surf the internet and watch the fuzz break some people down streetside out the propped open doors.

                1. re: scrumptiouschef
                  w
                  wwiggins Apr 30, 2008 12:41 PM

                  Not to mention the worst in-house brewed beer this side of a sweatsock soaking in highway run-off. I'll try a cocktail the next time I'm there instead.

              2. g
                gulch Sep 5, 2007 03:03 PM

                Try the Peacock on East 6th and Pedernales

                1 Reply
                1. re: gulch
                  tom in austin Sep 5, 2007 05:37 PM

                  I agree with you about the Peacock; this is a hip place to get a cocktail.

                  If you're downtown, Club De Ville seems to have thinned out a bit and still mixes generous cocktails. Weeknights and Sundays are better for the serious drinker -- after all, you're only a stone's throw from Sixth.

                2. p
                  pankofish Sep 5, 2007 01:38 PM

                  Not a bar, but a resource you might be able to use.
                  http://www.tipsytexan.com/2007/07/ult...

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