For the week of Independence Day, my wife and I were lucky enough to take a trip to the big island of Hawai’i. As always, I spent a little time researching the bar scene in advance of the trip, and going into the trip I was not that optimistic. My fears were largely confirmed when the bartender at one of the fairly expensive hotel bars we visited agreed to make me a Negroni and returned with an odd combination of gin, campari, and soda water. I guess we can call that a Negronicano for the mixture of the recipes for the Negroni and Americano?
We did find two places that I liked however, and conveniently they are on opposite sides of the island. You’re always within an hour of a good drink no matter where you are on the island!
One of the reasons that I created this blog was to be an outlet for the information that I collect about cocktail bars in the various cities that I visit. In these posts I’ll typically publish pictures of the menu and say a few words about my experience at the bars.
I was in Austin, Texas for about a week back in early May, and then I spent one night in Houston on my way back. In Austin, I was amazed at the cocktail quality across the range of various bars that I visited. Even bars that looked like typical beer and well drinks places had cocktail menus that were interesting and bartenders with some education. Fernet was available at most places. Since I was only in Houston for a short time, I can’t evaluate the quality of the cocktail scene as generally, but I got the impression from the few places that I visited, and the bartenders at Anvil Bar & Refuge, that it doesn’t have the same quality across the board as Austin (no real surprise there, frankly). Anvil is at the same quality level as all of the top places in Austin though, so you can still get a great cocktail in Houston.
I just started reading David Embury’s classic book The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks. Very early on I found this passage that I wanted to save for later:
The well-made cocktail is one of the most gracious of drinks. It pleases the senses. The shared delight of those who partake in common of this refreshing nectar breaks the ice of formal reserve. Taut nerves relax; taut muscles relax; tired eyes brighten; tongues loosen; friendships deepen; the whole world becomes a better place in which to live.
Found on page 33 of the reprint edition that I own.