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Favorite cocktail in Durham/Chapel Hill

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  • suse Aug 15, 2009 09:47 AM
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So I was just thinking about where I would go if my hub offered to take me out for a cocktail somewhere nearby and I immediately thought of Piedmont in Durham, which makes my favorite cocktail these days: prosecco cocktail. They put a few drops of homemade bitters on a sugar cube and pour bubbly on it. The nature of the cocktail changes as you sip it - I love it. The other cocktail which wowed me in the past few months is the Cuban (?) Dark and Stormy at Revolution. This is one bold cocktail - a total party in your mouth. Spiced rum with ginger beer. The first time I had it the bartender used the dregs of the spiced rum, which they had kicked up with their own spices including chile and it took spicy to a whole nutha level. I'd love to hear from other Triangle chowhounds about their favorite local cocktails.

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  1. Love this question. Current favorite is the basil mojito at Elaine's. I could drink a pitcher of them - refreshing and full of flavor. Acme does something it calls sweet tea or somethng along those lines that is really bourbon with simple syrup and a bit of mint. I like the cucumber martinis at the Lantern, although its been ages since I've been so not sure if they still have them. The mango martinis are pretty good too, although sometimes a littlle too heavy on the fruit for me (I'm not normally a fruit mixed with booze fan). Along those lines Blu makes a pear martini that can be great, or can taste like bazooka ... just kind of depends.

    2 Replies
    1. re: LulusMom

      The watermelon cocktail with a shiso-salt rim at Lantern is smokin.

      1. re: Pigloader

        whats the booze? I like the idea of watermelon/salt.

    2. I think that Revolution also uses spicy Blenheim ginger ale to really make the D&S extra zingy.

      These days I'm partial to Caipirinhas at Chamas (they're so wonderfully tart and refreshing in this heat) and Hot Dates at that wonderful restaurant across from Fresh Market in Glenwood Shopping Center in Chapel Hill (the heat of the drink makes me forget how hot it is outside).

      4 Replies
      1. re: anne7134

        Yes, that place across from Glenwood often has some great (changing) cocktails.

        1. re: LulusMom

          It's okay, ya'll - apparently we're allowed to name Jujube again. Check out the owner's new restaurant in Durham - Dos Perros. More fun cocktails to be found there.

        2. re: anne7134

          I love the Caipirinhas at Chamas, but wow, I can drink those things down in two gulps. Dangerous business, that. Reminds me of what a good friend has to say about the liquor in that drink : "When cachaca tells you to lie down in the gutter, you lie down in the gutter."

          1. re: suse

            Deliciously dangerous!

        3. I was in San Francisco last week and every bar we went in was pouring martinis made with cucumber infused gin.
          Anyone know of a place around here doing something similar? Does Lantern still have them?

          5 Replies
          1. re: brokegradstudent

            Not sure about the Lantern, but I *think* Blu has one. Also you can buy Hendricks gin, which has a tiny bit of cucumber in it.

            If all else fails, I highly recommend these cucumber gimlets (although I seriously up the amount of gin): http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/dri...

            1. re: LulusMom

              Thanks, I've been holding out for oyster season for a trip over to Blu but may go earlier. 2 of the places in SF used Hendricks as the base but infused with even more cucumber.

              Those gimlets are on my list now.

              1. re: brokegradstudent

                My wife makes a great cucumber margarita using a recipe she found on Rick Bayless's site. She calls them...wait for it..."Summer Margaritas". They use actual strained cucumber. They're a lot tastier than they sound. I haven't seen them on any local menus.

                Foundation makes a nice take off of a mint julep with basil.

                1. re: brokegradstudent

                  The gimlets are wonderful. If it wasn't a slight pain to peel and deseed the cucumbers, we'd be having them all the time.

              2. re: brokegradstudent

                Once last year, I had an amazing drink at Poole's (Raleigh) with such a gin. I think I had one at Coquette (Raleigh) as well recently. But at Poole's, she probably infused it herself!

              3. Since you mentioned Triangle chowhounds, I'm going to mention a couple in Raleigh. I had a wonderful Strawberry Balsamic Martini at Solas a couple of months ago. I couldn't stop thinking about it for days.

                But I think the best places in Raleigh for cocktails are downtown. The Busy Bee has all sorts of funky combinations - including one that muddles cilantro and jalapeno and mixes it with passion fruit vodka. One has muddled pineapple with rosemary - and bourbon and honey (I think).

                And if that's not enough - stroll across the street to Foundation, where they have lots of obscure liquors and they make their own mixers (cola, ginger ale, tonic, etc) ..... It is very small and "private" - as they don't serve food.

                1. Has anyone checked out the new bar Whiskey yet in Downtown Durham? Can they mix a good martini?

                  1. the best cocktail in chapel hill (by far) is the Bing Cherry Lemonade at Cypress.

                    1. I have another to add to the list! I had a Pimms and Lemonade at Revolution Friday night. It was made with Pimms No. 1, ginger ale, lemon juice and cucumber slices. It was really a great hot weather cocktail.

                      1. I asked the bar tender at Watt's Grocery to make me a Bocce Ball with blood orange juice last weekend and it was absolutely the most perfect brunch cocktail.

                        Other than that, I thoroughtly enjoyed the Carolina Julep at the Pit in Raleigh, although I wish they hadn't muddled the mint. Semi-traditional (note the muddling, not the use of mint syrup) julep with a nice bourbon twang and a hint of peach at the end. That and some Q was a nice end to a long, hot day.

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