BBQ, funnel cake, whiskey . . . it’s Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo time!
Throw back some whiskey with Bottoms Up! at Reserve 101 Bar & Signature Cocktail Lounge and learn how to make a rodeo-suited cocktail sure to knock your boots off.
Reserve 101 is the brainchild of co-owner Mike Raymond. Raymond noticed a lack of bars in town with whiskey as the star (Reserve 101 features more than 280 whiskeys). He and his childhood friend Steve Long decided to rectify that, opening their own place in 2008.
Now celebrating its five-year anniversary, success didn't come easy at first.
Located downtown on the corner of Caroline and Dallas, the bar's front area was formerly occupied by a sushi restaurant and the lounge area used to be part of the beloved Josephine's Ristorante. The interior has been remodeled and an outdoor patio has been added.
Inside, you'll find a long wooden bar that runs almost the entire length of the front room — and big, cozy leather couches in the out-of-sight back cocktail lounge. Mosey on up to the bar or make yourself comfortable on a sofa and feel instantly at home in the unpretentious and no-frills atmosphere.
Now celebrating its five-year anniversary, success didn't come easy at first. With a downturn in the economy, business started off slow, but picked up after the opening of several venues in the adjacent Pavilions. Notes Raymond, “It was tough, but we made it through . . .
"I got to work with some great chefs and restaurateurs, [as well as] spend time with the people making the whiskey.”
Long gone are the days of struggling. Reserve 101 has come to be regarded by many top distillers as one of the premier whiskey bars in the state. This recognition extends internationally as Reserve 101 was named one of the "Great Whisky Bars of the World" by Whisky Magazine last year.
We went behind the bar with co-owner and whiskey connoisseur, Raymond, to make the Thunder Road cocktail. Thunder Road (the name is a nod to the Bruce Springsteen song) is similar to an Old Fashioned in that it’s made with bitters, whiskey and citrus. However, Raymond adds his own twist by using bacon flavored simple syrup instead of sugar.
This drink has an orange hue and the taste is a mix of sweet from the wildflower honey and figs in the whiskey, and salty (yet savory) from the bacon simple syrup.
See the recipe below. Cheers and Bottoms Up! from CultureMap and Reserve 101 Bar & Signature Cocktail Lounge.
1.5 oz. Balcones Baby Blue whiskey
0.5 oz. bacon syrup by Torani
One small orange
Two dashes of bitters
Splash of club soda
Muddle cherries and orange, and add bitters. Shake and double strain over ice. Top off with club soda and garnish with cherry and orange slice.