Politically Incorrect Bartender
Wicked cocktails named for Cruz, Sanders part of new energy at underrated Montrose Bar
Texts from Grand Prize co-owner Brad Moore, aka the Bob Dylan of Houston’s cocktail scene, tend to be short and to the point.
“In addition to working at Poison Girl, Lindsey Rae (Burleson) is taking over the bar program at Grand Prize.”
Why did you choose her to be the new bar director, Brad?
“I like her puppet shows,” he replies. “And she is super creative and fun with cocktails and life.” Later adding, “(we) just want to refresh the fun button at GP.”
For her part, Burleson, who’s been recognized for her work at both Poison Girl and Little Dipper, tells CultureMap she’s excited to debut the bar’s new cocktail menu at a party on Sunday.
“I’ve absolutely always loved this bar, and how they have the vibe of (somewhere) you can get a beer and a shot or a really well-made cocktail. They’ve always had a fun spin to them,” she says.
By utilizing Grand Prize’s kitchen to facilitate her interest in techniques like pickling and creating syrups from emulsions, Burleson plans to introduce new ingredients and spirits to the bar’s cocktails. While the bar has always been a favorite after work hangout for members of Houston’s restaurant community, it’s been a little bit off the media radar in the face of so many high-quality openings over the past few years. Burleson hopes to change that situation.
“We’re letting (drinks) hit a menu and get out to the public instead of being ‘we made this really awesome thing. Let’s not talk about it,’” Burleson says. “This bar is a beast. They’re busy. Sometimes, you know, you’re worried about the 200 people in front of you and not ‘did I launch that menu?’”
Two of the new cocktails take their inspiration from the presidential election. The “Ted Cruz is the Zodiac Killer” is a riff on the classic tiki cocktail the painkiller that comes garnished with a plastic machete. Bartender Julie Lozano’s “Weekend at Bernie Sanders’s” is a little more refined, blending Pimms, pisco, sparkling wine, and cinnamon.
Of course, even with a couple of new faces, the bar’s essential character remains intact.
“You’ll definitely hear me say ‘fuck’ behind the bar and give you a high-five while making a pisco sour. If the Misfits come on, you better be singing, bro,” she says. “I feel like that’s the spirit of Grand Prize.”