Where to Drink in Detroit: Mudgie’s Deli
While sipping our Salt & Cedar at Detroit City Distillery, we asked Lee the bartender where else we should go in Detroit for a good drink. He told us that we should head to Mudgie’s, and look for Amanda at the bar, to get the best cocktails in the city; Amanda, he said, taught him everything he knew about how to mix a drink. That’s a recommendation that’s hard to dismiss. A few days later, we made our way from downtown to Corktown. Google maps took us to what looked like a rambling country house with a pleasant garden, in the middle of a post-industrial neighborhood. We had a good feeling about Mudgie’s Deli & Wine Shop. Our good feeling only increased when we sat down at the bar and noticed the well-curated selection of bottles on the back bar. Loving every bottle on those shelves, we felt like we were in safe hands, whether Amanda was there or not.
That was a good thing, because unless Lee was a late bloomer and she a child prodigy mixologist, our Mudgie’s bartender didn’t look old enough to be Lee’s mentor. The cocktail menu offered a selection of solid classics, the house drink, and two cocktails of the week. When we said that one of the two weekly specials sounded particularly delicious, the bartender pointed to a woman a few stools down from us and said, ‘She created that recipe.’ Amanda was at the bar after all, and she was kind enough to share her recipe.
What We Ordered
Worse for Wear (the weekly special): gin, green Chartreuse, simple syrup, lime juice, Peychaud’s bitters
Pookie’s Iced Tea (the house special): your choice of vodka or Bourbon, iced tea, peach, lemon, and thyme
What We Thought
We’ve always been allured by the idea of peach tea, and disappointed by the reality of it. It just seemed to be missing something. It turns out that something was Bourbon. In Pookie’s Iced Tea, the Bourbon brought the peach flavor alive, pulled it forward, and brought out its sweetness. The lemon’s tartness kept that sweetness in balance, and an aftertaste of black tea gave the drink an unexpected finish. Someone remind us of this drink the next hot day we want something cool to sip on the patio–which I guess could be this coming weekend in DC.
Amanda said that she had two inspirations for Worse for Wear: an old Hemingway hangover (we’re thinking it must have been Death in the Gulfstream) and a cherry-lime Italian ice. Indeed, it looks just like a refreshing cherry ice, and of course tastes much, much better. The key to the drink is using a straw, which produces a layered effect. Each sip starts with that classic refreshing, bracing combination of gin and lime. As you continue to draw, you pull in the sweet, strong herbs of Chartreuse. The finish is the floral bitterness of Peychaud’s; this grows strong over time as the bitters which float on top of the drink find their way down to the straw.
Worse for Wear Cocktail Recipe
created by Amanda Mentzer
- 1 oz gin
- 1 oz green Chartreuse
- 3/4 oz (1 lime) lime juice
- 1/2 oz simple syrup
- Peychaud’s bitters float
- Combine the gin, chartreuse, and simple syrup in a highball or Collins glass.
- Fill with crushed ice.
- Float a healthy amount of Peychaud’s bitters gently on top, such that it has a nice red top.
- Serve with a straw.