Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Union Bear debuts new cocktail line that includes a sangria, gimlet, and mule
Dallas barman and mixologist Eddie "Lucky" Campbell put the cocktail list together.
DALLAS The patio outside of Union Bear in West Village is unique for more reasons than one – yes, it’s located in central part of Uptown next to The Magnolia and Mi Cocina and Taco Diner, along with several other Uptown hotspots, but even more than that, it’s got a bar looking over the whole thing. With that bar wide open to the patio and the hustle and bustle of the pedestrians and passers-by in West Village, Dallas barman and mixologist Eddie "Lucky" Campbell and Union Bear owner Matt Spillers found an opportunity. And with fall’s friendly climes coming closer, it was with a mind on freshness and vivid flavors that Campbell helped create the new cocktail menu at Union Bear. We talked with Eddie about the new drinks he’s developed for those patio diners, and how those drinks fit in with Union Bear’s already-existing significant craft beer selection.
“They have one of the best selections of craft beers in the Metroplex, however, after moving in here, they quickly realized that the patio is a strong suit,” he says. And we’ve got the only bar on that sidewalk, so we wanted to bring the freshness of ingredients out onto the patio and create a patio-friendly cocktail menu. It entailed creating cocktails that are timeless and true to the classics, but at the same time being true to modern trends and keeping the integrity of their commitment to freshness of ingredients.”
So, to sidestep our inclination toward verbosity, we let the photos of some of the new options – along with Campbell’s insights – do the talking when it comes to these colorful cocktail creations.
Campbell: The Central 75 is a modern interpretation of the French 75. There’s discrepancy as to whether the original French 75 used gin or brandy, but what is known is that it was the first classic cocktail with spirit and Champagne. The classic was made with gin or brandy, lemon, and Champagne, and it came out of the Ritz-Carlton bar in Paris. The French 75 is named after the 75 millimeter cannon used in World War I. Our Central 75 uses ingredients that are more centered around the neighborhood. We drink a lot of tequila, and St. Germain Elderflower cordial is very popular in the neighborhood, so we use the strawberry-infused tequila. The strawberries go great with the St. Germain – and the citrus is grapefruit instead of lemon. And, of course, instead of being named after a cannon, we named it after the highway that’s right next to us.
The gimlet is cucumber, ginger, and basil. This is like the ultimate taste of freshness. The ginger also pops. It really enhances all these other flavors.
The Different Beet is made with fresh beet juice that we juice daily. It’s got our honeydew-infused gin, and honeydew has a way of knocking the twang off the gin. A lot of people say they don’t like gin, but most of them mean they don’t like gin used improperly. So here, the juniper in the gin will push the flavor of the honeydew and the beet forward. It’s also got apple juice in it, and you really get some sweetness from the apple juice.
Moscow mules are very popular, as are frozen drinks, and they’ve had their Frozen Mule here since opening. I thought it was so clever, I just told them I thought they’d be crazy to do away with that. As it turns out, it’s been one of their staples.
Smashes are basically flavored juleps; the Union Smash is a spicy peach julep. It’s a cocktail that we’re very proud of – we listed it first on the menu, but you’ve got to be careful with whiskey cocktails, because what happens when a non-whiskey drinker sees the peach and the mint and says, “Oh, that sounds good,” and gets one of those? We made sure it’s something that everybody can enjoy.
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