52 Weeks of Drinks: Week 52 – The Finale – Trader Vic’s

Our final stop on our year-long drinking odyssey is Trader Vic’s - the “Home of the Original  Mai Tai.” Why not?  Atlanta’s Trader Vic’s - located under the Hilton in downtown ATL – is one of thirty or so world-wide locations of this Polynesian themed restaurant and bar.  A chain? Yes – but it is the oldest franchise in the U.S.  If you have never stepped into this time-warped kitchy joint, you need to get down there one Thursday night for Tongo Hiti with Big Mike and the Dames Aflame and sip on some potent cocktails in funky vessels of joy.

We happened to be there while University of South Carolina fans (Ashley’s alma mater) and team were at the Hilton for the Chick-fil-a Bowl.  They were still happy and exited when we were there because they had not yet played that craptastic game and embarrased the entire conference.  At any rate…

Trader Vic’s featured signature cocktails in unique glassware before it was cool to do so.  I am fairly certain the drink menu and bikini-clad-lady drinking vessels have not changed since the 1940s.   With over 70 cocktails to choose from, plus many meant to serve a group, you are bound to find one that suits you.

We ordered the Original Mai Tai – clearly – and the Somoan Fog Cutter – mainly because of the glass in which it was served.

The Mai Tai is a glass full of Jamaican rum, French garnier orgeat, orange curacao, Trader Vic’s own rock candy syrup, and fresh mint.  It is served with a pineapple slice and cherry.

Don’t forget our ratings scale is between 1 and 5 Olives.  One Olive = waste of my blogging time;  5 Olives = oh my goodness/yummmmmm

Let’s rate the Original Mai Tai first.

Presentation: 4.5 olives.  Shaved ice, decorative glass, sprig of mint, pineapple slice and a cherry – purty!

Creativity: 5 olives. It’s an original cocktail from the 1940′s that is now world-famous and still popular.

Taste:  3.5 olives.  Classic rum goodness, but Ashley couldn’t drink it all because she claims it was the strongest drink she has ever put in her mouth.  I tend to think her straight-up dirty vodka martinis are stronger..;)

Overall: 4 olives.  Party in a glass!

The Soman Fog Cutter is a mixture of OJ, rum, gin, brandy, sherry wine, and orgeat…and is one of the more potent drinks on the menu.

Presentation: 4 olives.  A tall ceramic glass covered in bikini-clad ladies and tropic scenes makes you happy.

Creativity: 4 olives.  It’s like a tropical version of a long island iced tea.

Taste: 3.5 olives.  Dangerously tastes just like an OJ and pineapple juice blend.

Overall: 3.5 olives.  Tall, potent, and tasty…

Trader Vic’s may be one of the potent weeks of our journey.  Good thing it is ending!  We enjoyed our time, but are grateful it is over.  We will try to do some highlights of these 52 weeks next week and then think of new things to do with our free time!

Happy New Year!

52 Weeks of Drinks: Week 51 – Miso Izakayo

Just so you know, we did our last two “weeks” in one night.  That’s right.  It has come to that.  We are ready for this fabulous and weight gaining task to end – and in a race to the finish before 2011, we headed out Thursday night and completed 52 Weeks.  Here’s to us.

We decided sushi and sake – or more appropriately -shochu – were calling our names.  Shochu, unlike sake, is distilled and can be made from several different kinds of things- like sweet potatoes, rice, or barley.  Miso Izakoyo has a massive selection (is it the largest in the city?) of shochu and even makes fabulous cocktails with it as the main ingredient.

Alison and I are not sure how Miso stays open because we have gone a few times and it is never busy – and it makes us sad.  It is fabulous – their buns are to die for (that’s what she said) and their sushi rocks it.  It is close to downtown on Edgewood so we think more of you should drink/eat here.

Regardless, Hong, the wonderful bartendress,  created the Heated Pineapple for us – an amazing concoction with yaemaru shochu, DH krahn gin, pineapple juice, jalapeno infused syrup, and lime juice.

Don’t forget our ratings scale is between 1 and 5 Olives.  One Olive = waste of my blogging time;  5 Olives = oh my goodness/yummmmmm

Presentation: 2 olives – Hong made it in a tall glass with ice and I forced her to serve it up for me.  Much much nicer that way so hopefully they will start doing that.  I think it needs a little garnish of lime on the side.

Creativity: 5 olives – Not many drinks in the city put shochu in their drinks, much less mix them with gin and jalapeno infused syrup.  Delightful.

Taste: 5 olives – This drink was fabulous and was a perfect blend of all the ingredients.  The “hot” taste of jalapeno did not hit you until after the sip had gone down – and then it warmed your throat – but it was not overwhelming at all.   We both loved it.

Overall: 4 olives – I am only giving it 4 olives because of the presentation.  If they served it up with a garnish, it would be perfection in a glass!

Our next to last week of drink(s) was excellent and we will be back.  Hopefully, you will go too!

52 Weeks of Drinks: Week 50 – Chili’s, Dalton, GA

Yes, you read that correctly.  We went to Chili’s in Dalton GA this past week while we were out shopping for cabinetry for our new/old home.  Indeed. Chili’s.  We certainly were the only girls who clearly looked like lesbians sitting at the bar at Chili’s in Dalton – and we kept getting looks from the old man in the cowboy hat, but other than that, it was a very pleasant experience.  Probably because our MASSIVE margaritas helped.

Now, before you judge and tell us we have completely lost our minds doing 52 Weeks of Drinks at a Chili’s, you must know that they have pretty tasty margaritas.  And yes, we have two weeks left in our quest to find excellent cocktails in Atlanta, and quite frankly, we are so ready for it to end that we have completely lost our minds.  I never thought it would be so hard to find a new and exciting cocktail each week- much less two  – but it IS.

Anyway, back to Chili’s and their drinks.  I mean, look at this margarita!  How can a drink come out this size?  It is like 3 margaritas in one glass!  It is called the Platinum Margarita and it consists of a lot of Don Julio Blanco Tequila and Patrón Citrónge orange liqueur with a squeeze of fresh orange and lime.  I ordered this one and Alison ordered the Chili’s classic Presidente Margarita which comes in your own personal shaker/mixer thingy and you just keep pouring and pouring.  The Presidente’s ingredients are as follows: Hand-shaken Sauza Conmemorativo Tequila, Patrón Citrónge orange liqueur and Presidente Brandy.

Don’t forget our ratings scale is between 1 and 5 Olives.  One Olive = waste of my blogging time;  5 Olives = oh my goodness/yummmmmm

Let’s rate the Platinum Margarita first.

Presentation: 5 olives.  That’s right, people.  Anything that big and crazy with that much salt gets 5 friggin olives.

Creativity: 2 olives. It is a margarita – it’s just a big one.

Taste: 3 olives.  A bit sweet for me but still enjoyable (hiccup)

Overall: 3.5 olives.  I can still taste the salt.

The Presidente Margarita is their classic one and Alison loves this margarita (even though she may not admit it in public!)  I mean, look at how happy it makes her!

Presentation: 4 olives. Who can’t love a cocktail that comes in a blue plastic shaker and is served up with ice???

Creativity: 2 olives. It may be Chili’s “creation,” but it is still a margarita…

Taste: 4 olives.  Tasty, tasty, tasty.  Even in Dalton Ga.

Overall: 3.5 olives.  If you go to Chili’s, you must get one.

Alas, we do not get to Chili’s as much as we should.  I doubt we will be back to the one in Dalton, but who knows!  By the way, I think these margaritas were like $6.00 each…

P.S.  ONLY TWO MORE LEFT!

52 Weeks of Drinks: Week 49 – Silk

Alison and I checked out Silk in Midtown the other night before we headed to [tag]OVO!, Cirque du Soleil’s new show here in Atlanta[/tag].  (Ovo rocked by the way.)  Anyway, we dropped by Silk beforehand and sat at the bar.  We never know how this place stays open because it never seems busy.  But it is always tasty.  Good sushi, wonderful thai dishes, excellent spring rolls, etc.  I’d say try it out if you have not.

Jack, our bartender (who looked slightly like a more mature Justin Bieber), prepped us on what we should get for our weekly drink.  He had some excellent options on there – including one Thai pepper infused vodka cocktail which he told us was indeed hot – we opted against it, although I kinda wish I had tasted it now.

We decided on one cocktail this evening (but ended up with one cocktail and a little “shot” of another concoction which was fabulous.)   The first drink was called the Strawberry Lemon Drop and consisted of fresh strawberries pureed with a bit of cranberry juice, orange juice, and pomegranate juice.  The strawberry seeds are then drained out of the puree.  It is then mixed with citrus vodka, a tiny bit of sour mix and a splash of sprite.   I thought it would be too sweet but it was dead on and very tasty.

Don’t forget our ratings scale is between 1 and 5 Olives.  One Olive = waste of my blogging time;  5 Olives = oh my goodness/yummmmmm

Presentation: 4 olives -  A gorgeous strawberry color with a sugar rimmed glass, served up with a slice of lemon on the corner.

Creativity: 3.5 olives – Doesn’t sound terribly difficult to come up with – but it is the precise way it is created that makes this one stand out.

Taste: 4.5 olives -  We could have sipped on this all night long.  Not too sweet at all and not overpowering in any way, shape, or form

Overall: 4 olives – Loved it and if I felt like pureeing strawberries at home, I would make it all the time.

Now, quickly, Jack offered us a fun concoction at the end of our meal which was a wonderful surprise.  We had been grossed out by the types of vodka people drink (bubble gum flavored, cotton candy flavored, etc) so he made us a little shot of the strawberry puree with whip-cream vodka and a little whip-cream on top!  HOW YUMMY WAS THAT!   I guess we can’t be grossed out anymore!   Anyway, go visit Silk.  I doubt you have.  It is worth it.

Merry EARLY Christmas!

I could not wait another week to post this.  Found in Dalton GA this past weekend.  LOVE IT.

52 Weeks of Drinks: Week 48 – Brick Store Pub

Amy Grant Christmas music makes Ashley happy.  She loves that album.   It makes me want to drink Christmas Ale.  If you are in the mood for yummy seasonal craft beers, or yummy beer in general, there is no better place in the world to get your fix than the Brick Store Pub in Decatur.

I hate to add to the Brick Store’s accolades because this place has people flocking to it from all over the world all of the time.  I am not a fan of too many people in my personal space, and Ashley is not a beer drinker, so we do not get here as often as we should.  We have figured out that mid-day weekend visits are best to avoid long waits.

The bartender’s recommendation of Anchor Christmas 2010 was a nutmeg and clove inspired pint of pleasure.  We have altered our usual rating system for beer:

Our (beer) ratings scale is between 1 and 5 Pints.  One Pint = waste of my blogging time;  5 Pints = oh my goodness/yummmmmm

Presentation: 3 Pints - For beer this one is hard.  A beer in its own custom glass makes me happy.  This one came in a plane old pint glass, but was a nice dark color with a good head. (That’s what she said)

Gravity:  4 Pints-  Unlike some seasonal brews, this Anchor doesn’t try to compete with liquor to get you through the holidays.  Nothing wrong with high gravity, but I’m old and like to enjoy a couple of beers without wanting to pass out.  I like a nice dark cozy beer for the winter and this one makes you want to curl on the sofa and watch football.  But not too heavy or thick.

Taste: 5 Pints – Smooth, not hoppy, with hints of nutmeg and spice and everything nice.  My new favorite seasonal brew.  My least favorite is Sweet Water’s Festival Ale.  WAY too hoppy.

Overall: 4 Pints  - One of the best seasonal beers I have had this season.  (I also really liked Terrapin’s Moo Hoo Chocolate Milk Stout on draft at the U Joint. ) So many to love, and just one of hundreds of lovely beers available at the Brick Store.

We love this pub – one of Atlanta’s best treasures.  Worth bucking the cocktail theme for a week.  Especially when you get some yummy food and that mustard.  To die for.  We’re heading back this Monday for a festival ale and cheese dinner.  Double winner!

52 Weeks of Drinks: Week 47 – P’cheen

P’cheen puts the “random” in Random Atlanta this week.  If Scout Mob had not described this place as an “International Gastro Pub,” we would have been at a complete loss for any theme.  The menu features such varying options as Thai wings, mussels, curry, burgers, and pasta.  Random.  Jazz blared from the corner DJ station while big screens showed a college basketball game.  Young hipsters chatted and intermittently checked their iphones in the sofa section.  Solo regular bar fly guy sipped on his tequila over ice with 55 slices of lime – pictured below – while we debated what to order.

P’cheen is not a craft cocktail sort of joint.  Ashley opted for a vat of vodka -  a dirty martini that was the largest one we have ever seen.  Nothing else looked very original or tasty so I opted for a draft Guinness and insisted we share a “Chocolate Mudslide” libation for dessert – just to mix it up a bit.

This drink consisted of chocolate vodka and whynatte, and was served over ice in a pint glass with a fat McDonald’s-style black straw.  I naively thought whynatte was some unknown secret liquor, but once the bar tender popped open a can of the coffee energy drink – Whynatte Latte- I knew we were about to throw away $9.

Hey – if you were a young hipster eating a yummy dinner of curry and pasta (which was in fact yummy) and wanting to stay awake in time for some cool beats from the DJ, this drink would probably be totally awesome.  Turns out, we are old and boring and the thought of sucking down a coffee/chocolate/vodka drink through a fat straw at 9pm on a Tuesday sounded positively awful.

So we took a few sips and rated the drink:

Our ratings scale is between 1 and 5 Olives.  One Olive = waste of my blogging time;  5 Olives = oh my goodness/yummmmmm

Presentation: 1 olive – Served over ice in a pint glass with a fat straw.

Creativity: 2 olives -  No problem making this one at home.  Forget the Godiva liquor – just crack open a can ‘o coffee and add some chocolate-flavored vodka!

Taste: 2 olives – Sweet, coffee, chocolate.

Overall: 2 olives  -Look, P’cheen isn’t trying to be some pretentious craft bar so don’t judge them for their lack of a cocktail menu.  Order a nice beer and some wings, listen to jazz, and watch some hoops.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Enjoy church (or the Cheetah)!

52 Weeks of Drinks: Week 46 – H. Harper Station

Jocelyn told us to go here so we did.  The great old Atlanta and West Point rail station located on Memorial Drive in the Reynoldstown neighborhood should flourish as a restaurant.  Let’s hope this one lasts longer than the last restaurant did.  H. Harper Station is large inside but very warm and inviting.  The bar is huge – like something over 40 feet long I would say.  Cool old fixtures hang on the walls and the feel certainly has a bit of a 1920′s era vibe going on.

We met Tiffannie and Mike (pictured) and they suggested a few drinks from their very extensive cocktail selection.  They have a wonderful selection of dark liquors and lots of really unique drinks.  They also home make a lot mixers, juices, etc – which always makes us extremely happy.  Had we had more people, we would have gotten a “punch bowl”…  Alas, it was just me and Alison so we opted for one drink each.  After all, we had to go home and watch Gwyneth Paltrow on Glee later.  Tiffannie suggested one of us get the Bufala Negra and Mike suggested the Wooden Teethboth drinks special to H. Harper.

I got the Bufala Negra which consisted of Buffalo Trace bourbon, fresh basil, brown sugar, balsamic, and ginger beer.  What?  I mean.  Pictured is the fresh basil and lump of brown sugar getting ready to be pulverized by Mike.

Don’t forget our ratings scale is between 1 and 5 Olives.  One Olive = waste of my blogging time;  5 Olives = oh my goodness/yummmmmm

Presentation: 4 olives – Served with fabulous thick square ice cubes and a fresh piece of basil placed on the rim of the glass, it was well presented indeed.

Creativity: 5 olives -  With those ingredients, need I say more?

Taste: 4 olives – I am not a bourbon drinker for many reasons…one being that I puke when I drink too much of it.  But, this was one very refreshing drink and was great.  It tasted a bit like a mojito somehow…but was better and not as sweet. The bourbon was not overwhelming and the fresh basil was fantastic.  I did not taste the balsamic until later.  Weird but cool.

Overall: 4 olives  – Certainly a a nice Fall drink and a tasty one at that.

The Wooden Teeth contained Old Overholt Rye Whiskey, Cocchi Apertivo Americano, fresh ginger, and a house made vanilla cream soda.  Alison is in a workshop in DC right now so just texted me her ratings but can’t text me witty comments, so I will try to make them up for her even though I did not like this drink and she did.

Presentation: 3 olives- Served in a high ball glass with those fabulous ice cubes, it was nothing fancy – although I did like the way Mike sprayed in the soda at the end for a frothy top.

Creativity: 4 olives – The home made cream soda rocked it in the end.

Taste: 4 olives – Alison liked it a lot but I did not – Alison likes ginger and I do not.

Overall: 4 olives  -Good tasty whiskey drink.

We will certainly be coming back – maybe to eat as well next time.  I liked sitting at the bar staring at all the pretty bottles and homemade things – and the bar is again big enough to seat a million people.  I hope this one makes it!


Kudos

Pretty witty if I say so myself.