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Liquid Diet

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Drink This: Sweet Georgia Brown

Posted By on Thu, Jul 17, 2014 at 3:22 PM

Found: Fahrenheit (222 S. Caldwell St.)
Ingredients: Bird Dog Peach Whiskey, house-dried Fresno chile, simple syrup, pickled peaches

Fahrenheit’s near panoramic Uptown view has quickly made it one of the most iconic Charlotte spots to snap a romantic couple shot or cheeky selfie. But it’s more than scenery that sets the Cleveland-turned-Charlotte eatery apart from the rest of town. Atop its 21-story rooftop, you’ll find the usual suspects — fire pits and lounge chairs — but also something you’d be hard-pressed to find inside the Uptown grid: The sunny slice of sky-high real estate boasts a sprawling, and thriving, urban garden. Fahrenheit’s herb and heirloom tomato garden offers a versatile variety of greenery, with basics like thyme, rosemary and mint mixed in with less typical selections such as African purple basil and horseradish.

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Friday, April 18, 2014

Featured Cocktail: Smokey the Pear

Posted By on Fri, Apr 18, 2014 at 9:00 AM

Found: 1900 Mexican Grill & Tequila Bar (1523 Elizabeth Ave.)
Ingredients: Prickly pear purée, lime juice, agave nectar, Mezcal, chili rim

Mezcal is a spirit with some seriously colorful origins. Cultivated in Oaxaca, Mexico, and long considered tequila's coarser sibling, it's a liquor that's deeply rooted in the area's cultural traditions. Maguey, the agave plant from which mezcal is made, grows predominantly in Oaxaca; thus, there's a good amount of regional pride for the smoky spirit. People from Oaxaca drink mezcal for every imaginable occasion, from weddings and baptisms to birthdays and funerals; hell, some even enjoy it in the morning in a terra cotta bowl of coffee. The popular saying, "Para todo mal, mezcal, y para todo bien tambien" (for everything bad, mezcal, and also for everything good) gives you an idea of just how significant the spirit is in Oaxacan households.

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Friday, March 21, 2014

Featured Cocktail: Sauternes Punch

Posted By on Fri, Mar 21, 2014 at 11:02 AM

Found: Lumière (1039 Providence Road, 704-372-3335)
Ingredients: Muddled orange and cherry, Sauternes, Luxardo Maraschino liqueur, Grand Marnier, cherry as garnish

Lumière is bringing adoration for French food back to Charlotte's lost Francophile culinary scene. Along with petite plates and Parisian music, you'll find sophisticated sips inside. While wine is key for a restaurant serving French cuisine, Lumière's cocktail program doesn't disappoint, either. But unlike other spirit-forward haunts in town, you won't find a curated cocktail list floating the bar. "I'm just not a fan of giving someone a hundred pieces of paper," says co-owner Matthew Pera. "We have a dinner menu and we have a wine list and a dessert and cheese list. That's enough pieces of paper, I think. You go to these places and they have five menus on the table. That just seems to be too much and too complicated." To simplify, Lumière brings cocktails tableside via an antique 1960s bar cart, outfitted with all the necessities. Right now, those include the ingredients and tools to make Sauternes Punch, a classic drink adapted from the famous Savoy Cocktail Book. Libations will change regularly, just like the food. Pera says the cart is switching gears soon, with fresh classics like the French 75 and Death in the Afternoon, a champagne cocktail created by Hemingway, on the way.

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Friday, February 28, 2014

Featured Cocktail: Southern Hospitality

Posted By on Fri, Feb 28, 2014 at 1:21 PM

Found: e2 emeril's eatery (135 Levine Avenue of the Arts #100)
Ingredients: Southern Comfort pepper, Aperol, lime juice, simple syrup and Cajun spice for the rim (chili powder, sugar, salt, cayenne pepper).


There's always an occasion for a drink or, in this case, a drink for the occasion. Mardi Gras, often dubbed "the biggest party in the world," would be one of them. Fortunately, New Orleans knows how to make a drink, and here in Charlotte, you can get a taste for the Cajun culture at e2 emeril's eatery. The New Orleans inspired restaurant is celebrating its knack for spirituous drinks with Southern Hospitality, a take on the classic whiskey sour.

Kevin Harris, bar manager of e2 said his inspiration for the drink was simple. "Mardi Gras is based in New Orleans so the Southern Comfort was a good tie-in. It was invented in New Orleans back in the 1800s. I used the pepper because of the Cajun influence down there ... but I didn't make it too hot, just a little bit of spice to go with the theme." The drink has a slight kick, but it's packed with hints of fruit, so you'll get a delightful swig of sweet and spice. If you like a bit of heat, opt to sip from the half of the rim that's garnished. Harris says he uses a basic formula for making cocktails, which includes a base spirit, modifiers and then elements like sweet, sour and bitter. That formula he uses, let's just say it's working.

Available starting Feb. 27 and will be offered on the spring cocktail list.

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Friday, February 21, 2014

Let the good times flow at Soul

Posted By on Fri, Feb 21, 2014 at 1:36 PM

If you walk into Soul Gastrolounge (1500-B Central Ave.), you'll notice something new and shiny in the corner of the bar.

Soul, in all of its Plaza Midwood forward thinking, now offers select cocktails on tap. These vintage-inspired brass spigots, the only ones you'll find in Charlotte (at least for now), look more refined than typical beer taps, and their handles can be changed out with various liquor brands.

One churns out the Bangkok Sling, made with Bombay Sapphire East (a peppercorn and lemongrass gin), cherry Heering, Bénédictine, Cointreau, house-made pomegranate grenadine, lime, pineapple and Angostura. The other dispenses a longtime Soul staple, the Wise Old Buffalo, crafted with Buffalo Trace bourbon, Aperol, Lillet Rouge, and hints of orange and sage.

Behind the chic appearance of the taps, there's real practicality. If you've ventured into Soul on any night of the week, you'd know why.

"With our volume, trying to push out these cocktails has always been a problem," says beverage director Andy Maurer. "I want to do cool stuff the right way. I don't care how busy I am, it's going to be right. We've had to develop a way to make cocktails fast to pump them out but keep the creativity and quality the same."

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Thursday, December 26, 2013

Featured Cocktail: Barrel-Aged, Rosemary, Maple Duck Manhattan

Posted By on Thu, Dec 26, 2013 at 1:31 PM

Found: Pisces Sushi Bar & Lounge (1100 Metropolitan Ave.)
Ingredients: Ridgemont Reserve 1792 bourbon "washed" in rosemary duck fat, six-week barrel-aged Madeira, Angostura bitters and organic maple syrup.

Bob Peters, head mixologist at Pisces, doesn't just make drinks, he creates them. His latest, which involves succulent duck fat and herbaceous rosemary, is a culinary-inspired cocktail that may be the most inventive one to date. A year in the process from conception to execution, Peters recently unveiled the result of his beverage experiment at the Manhattan Project Tasting Party held at Pisces.
Peters began by barrel-aging Madeira wine for six weeks, then washing bourbon with rosemary duck fat. (Fat-washing is a technique that mixes melted fat with a spirit and, once the mixture cools, skimming the fat off, resulting in a flavored spirit.) The crafty technique creates a tasteful consistency, eliminating any fatty residue. Peters builds the Manhattan by adding maple syrup, the last ingredient, and finally, putting the mixture back into the barrel to age an additional six weeks.
"I started thinking of possibilities and put technique on top of technique and this is what I came up with," Peters says. The finished product is a silky-smooth, smoky cocktail with luscious undertones of duck and herbs.

This cocktail is only available for a limited time.

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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Featured Cocktail: The Dirty Ol' Punk'n

Posted By on Wed, Nov 20, 2013 at 11:23 AM

Found: Growlers Pourhouse (3120 N. Davidson St.)
Ingredients: Bulleit Rye Whiskey, Goldschlager, Grand Marnier, Uinta Punk'n Harvest Pumpkin Ale, cinnamon and sugar rim, orange slice.


This NoDa chill spot serves more than just beer, sausage and bar-side popcorn. Though it's not listed on the chalkboard, there is one fall-inspired sip that isn't the seasonal pumpkin beer. "Growlers Pour House is known for our extensive beer list, which is my inspiration for a lot of the cocktails I make," says bartender Nicole Ippolito. "I often will make guests drinks with their favorite beer. The idea behind the Dirty Ol' Punk'n was to bring out the fall spice of Uinta Punk'n beer with the use of the Goldschlager." Between the whiskey, beer and spices, you can practically hear the crunch of leaves while warming up with this fall-in-a-glass cocktail.

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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Featured Cocktail: Nightshade Martini

Posted By on Tue, Nov 5, 2013 at 10:27 AM

Found: Nan and Byron's (1714 South Blvd.)
Ingredients: Pearl pomegranate vodka, POM pomegranate juice, simple syrup, muddled mint and fresh cucumber.

  • George Lainis

From food to artwork, the theme at Nan and Byron's, opening this week, is classic Americana. The rustic American eatery will boast a bountiful selection of craft cocktails, with the help of bourbon, moonshine and corn and rye whiskey made in the USA. With a unique selection of 15 cocktails, the Nightshade is just one of two martinis on the list that are vodka-based. That being said, the dark-hued martini is expected to be its most coveted sip. Though the pomegranate flavor may lead you to think of summer, this delectable cocktail transcends any season with an enticing, well-rounded flavor that you'll want to drink all year long.

"Everyone can, and will, drink it," says beverage manager Mark Childers. "The deep color and the large, fresh garnishes will be appealing to men and women alike. Ladies will love the fruit-forward freshness, and gentlemen will be pleased that it isn't nearly as sweet as they thought. It's definitely a cocktail for the co-eds."

Nan & Byron's, the sister restaurant of the popular 5Church, hosts its grand opening this weekend, Thursday, Nov. 7 through Saturday, Nov. 9. For reservations, visit

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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Updated: Ardbeg's full-size rocket not landing at Soul Thursday

Posted By on Wed, Oct 9, 2013 at 5:25 PM

Update (Oct. 10, 5:24 p.m.): Well, I guess I shouldn't have gotten so excited at the prospect of seeing a huge-ass rocket in the neighborhood. Just got word from the folks at Soul that the Ardbeg folks have postponed their appearance to November. 

I know. Sad face.


Oh, so many ways to use the phrase "out of this world" come to mind as I start to write this post ...

The folks with Ardbeg - a single malt Scotch whisky, for those of you who just toss glasses back without a second glance at the label - will be at Soul Gastrolounge Thursday evening for a Scotch tasting. Soul - who won Best Spot for Bar Bites and a Creative Cocktail List in our Best of Charlotte issue - has just released its fall cocktail menu, and its selections look tasty.


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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

When getting canned is a good thing

Posted By on Wed, Sep 25, 2013 at 7:00 AM

Last week, NoDa Brewing Co. unveiled a new package for its popular Hop Drop 'N' Roll IPA and Jam Session Pale Ale: cans. The move is a first amongst Charlotte breweries. "Canning/packaging beer allows us to expand our brand to more diverse markets where kegs may not be available," says Brian Mister, NoDa's director of community optimism. "This is also a much more portable product, allowing people to bring NoDa along with them in their active lifestyle."

  • Courtesy NoDa Brewing

When NoDa's owners looked at options for entering the world of portable packaging, canning made the most sense because it shields the beer from light, which can affect the beer in a number of ways, including taste. The vibrant design of the cans is courtesy of local brand management company Saturday.

The 16-ounce cans will be available in NoDa's taproom in mid-October, and soon after in Panthers Stadium, bottle shops and other places. "By the end of 2013, we should be into the market pretty heavily," Mister says.

The next beer slated to be canned is NoDa's award-winning porter Coco Loco. 

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