Bartender’s Choice

By Kathleen Seaman

Trust the Experts

Pictured: Photos by Taylor Nicole Photography

Tired of your go-to drink, but you’re not sure what to order? We figured nobody knows better than the experts behind the bar. We asked six local bartenders to flex their mixology skills and make us a drink, any drink. From twists on the classics to original creations, they came back with a diverse range of sips that offer something for every palate. Personal favorites, signature drinks or seasonal offerings, they shared a few secret ingredients, why they like the drink and who should order it.

Brazos Bar & Bistro
Bartender: Blake Seidler

Bulleit Rye Whiskey
Muddled orange
Muddled Luxardo cherries
Simple syrup
Logo-stamped ice cube
Orange and cherry garnish

“It’s probably one of my favorites for any occasion, especially when the weather starts to change. I love these, especially in the right setting. I’m pretty confident in our skill with this drink. The quality ingredients that we use set us apart.”

Latin Chocolate Martini
The Blue Dog
Bartender: Ashley “Hutch” Hutchison

Licor 43
Godiva white chocolate liqueur
Godiva dark chocolate liqueur

“It’s dessert. It’s for anybody with a sweet tooth. Before dinner or after dinner. Because sometimes dessert first makes sense. It’s like adult chocolate milk.”

OK, First, I’m Not A Princess
Milo All Day
Bartender: Ally Bowers

Plantation pineapple rum
Hibiscus simple syrup
Angostura bitters
Pineapple juice
Lime juice
Edible rose petals
Edible glitter garnish

“I’m a big aesthetics person when it comes to cocktails because it’s an art. I love how light and shamelessly feminine this drink is. It’s kind of a power play. It’s called, ‘OK, First, I’m Not A Princess,’ but it’s unapologetically feminine at the same time. It’s a light, tiki-style drink with beautiful color. It’s sweet but not overly sweet. It’s been a real staple on our brunch menu. I make about a hundred of those at brunch, and we do carafes of them now.”

Spiked Pear Cocktail
Balcones Distilling
Bartender: Don Phet

Balcones Rumble Cask Reserve
Spiced pear syrup
Pear juice
Lemon juice
House-made allspice dram

“It’s got a lot of fall spices going on. It’s got star anise in it, which is very licorice-y. I like all those flavors that give it a nice tiki-punch kick. I’d recommend it to anybody who’s trying to keep warm and just enjoy the fall.”

Blueberry Cosmo
Bartender: Sarah Blocker

Huckleberry vodka
Orange liqueur
Lemon juice
Cranberry juice
Blue sugar garnish

“This was a seasonal beverage that people loved so much it was put on the permanent menu. People who like cosmos tend to like this. The sugar tends to keep men away from it, but I’ve had men ask for it on the rocks, so it doesn’t look so feminine. It’s a martini, so it has a good amount of alcohol in it, but it’s great for people starting off also.”

The Judge
Z’s at the curry
Bartender: Rey Gonzalez

Garrison Brothers bourbon
Mezcal Unión
Sweet vermouth
Lavender bitters
Smoked apple wood chips
Cinnamon stick garnish

“It’s one of our signature drinks. People really love it. It gives the [appearance] you’re having a drink and a cigar. People just love the smell [of the wood chips and cinnamon], and because of the smoke, they like looking at it. It tastes really good. It’s got a full bourbon flavor with the sweetness of the Campari. Just about anybody can order it.”