Hearty party 

Some
have outgrown wanting their alcohol to taste like a candy basket and
falling into diabetic coma. For people with more adult tastes, Oklahoma Gazette recommends a few savory cocktails while visiting the warm hearts (and hearths) of these locally prepped adult beverages.

First,
we recommend a liquor store for real beer. Or, heck, visit an Oklahoma
brewery. Beer is the dirt-cheap king of savory alcoholic beverages and
can be bought just about everywhere. Find Oklahoma-made offerings from
Choc Beer Co., Coop Ale Works, Marshall Brewing Company, Mustang Brewing
Company ... the list is long (and filling).

But
maybe that’s not what you’d choose. So let’s get serious — like,
eat-your-drink, manly drink, cocktails-are-for-wimps serious.

For
the more cultured, up-and-coming personality with more responsibilities
(and more disposable income), there are many fine establishments that
will work hard to earn your drink money.

Call them what you will, bartenders or mixologists, these drink-slingers have chef-level pride in their creations.

Ludivine:
Breakfast Flip
805 N. Hudson Ave.
$12
Ludivine’s
bartender, Chris Barrett, said he finds the term mixologist to be
pretentious. He prefers the term “spirit-ual adviser.”

Barrett says the savory star at downtown OKC’s farm-to-table restaurant and bar is its homemade bacon-infused bourbon.

“For
the infusion, we cook the bacon with a little black pepper and brown
sugar,” Barrett said. “Then we trim off the fat and drop the bacon in
the bourbon and let it sit for over a week.”

The
sip he provided proved that over thirty years into America’s baconmania
craze, the flavor can still be made interesting as something more than
just an internet meme. It’ll get you drunk.

Bacon
bourbon gave Barrett an idea: “Why not serve a whole breakfast in a
glass?” A Breakfast Flip (above) contains bacon bourbon, a whole egg,
orange cognac and maple syrup. In the end, its look and taste is quite
reminiscent of an umami-charged eggnog that’s garnished with a crispy
lardon.

Red PrimeSteak:
Downton Abbey
504 N. Broadway Ave.
$9

Another high-end downtown eatery is throwing its hat into the ring of savory drinks just a few blocks away.

As
a seasonal beverage, the Downton Abbey works as a light alternative or
complement to the other heavy foods and drinks of winter. Red manager
Justin Neely said they named the drink after the aristocratic British
drama because of its similarity to the classic English Garden cocktail.

“We
take chunks of cucumber, and we muddle it with fresh basil and lime
juice,” Neely said. “Then we fill it with gin and soda. Finally, we
float a little Elderflower liqueur on top.”

It
was exceptionally refreshing without tasting of sugar. Picture a sour,
herbal mojito with the chlorophyll smoothness of cucumber.

Lindsey
Adams, a customer at Red Prime, took a sip and told us, “It tastes like
a springtime drink. But (during holidays), I could eat all the turkey I
wanted and still have room to knock a few of these back.”

The HiLo Club:
Bloody Mary
1121 NW 50 St.
$5

If you can afford fine cuisine, that’s fine. You don’t need to splurge to have a good time.

The
HiLo Club is mistaken by squares as a gay bar because there are
probably a few LGBT folks there (everyone is welcome, always), every
once in a while people are seen dancing and sports center isn’t
radiating out of a dozen screens. The HiLo is, hands-down, a fun and
affordable place to drink. Sure, the Bloody Mary is the most obvious
choice for a savory cocktail. But bartender Topher Sauceda said The HiLo
Club eschews tradition and has perfected the drink over many years.

“We
make our own mixture out of vegetable and tomato juice, pickle juice,
spicy asparagus pickle juice, olive brine and Worcestershire sauce,”
said Sauceda. “Then we add celery salt, black pepper and freshly grated
horseradish.”

He said
the Bloody Mary is especially popular on Sunday as an add-on to a free
brunch buffet. He recommends using Monopolowa, one of the last vodkas
still made from potatoes. “It’s a perfect drink for when you’ve been
partying all weekend and you’re nursing a hangover. It’s the staple,”
Sauceda said.

HiLo
patron Dustin Wallace praised its work: “Their Bloody Mary is one of the
best. Fresh, spicy, they’re practically a meal unto themselves. Also
The HiLo’s drinks are strong as (a firetruck).”

The Lobby Bar and Cafe:
Needle and Thread
inside the Will Rogers Theater at 4322 N. Western Ave.
$10

Somewhere
in between expensive and cheap is The Lobby Café and Bar. It serves
moderately priced tapas and cocktails in ambiance for dates.

Bar
manager Christopher Angel said he had that name before magician Chriss
Angel made it suck. Angel also said The Lobby unveiled its winter drink
menu, which includes a new savory special.

He
had the idea of a savory variation on the Manhattan and just ran with
it. The kick and base of the drink is bourbon, Amaro liqueur and
bitters. From there, the recipe curves into chemistry territory.

“We
add in a smoked salt tincture we make and charred rosemary. So it’s
smokey, herbal and warm from the bourbon. Then, to put it over the top,
we garnish it with fresh lemon zest,” said Angel. “We’re calling it
Needle and Thread due to the evergreen nature of the rosemary,” he said.

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Danniel Parker

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