Where We’ve Been Drinking
Suburban Edition: Bar Louie
As we mentioned yesterday, we used our holiday trip home to the suburbs to do a little investigation of suburban drinking. Had the cocktail renaissance come to the suburbs? And if so, how are cocktails the same and how are they different in the city and in the suburbs? To conduct our research, we took our family on a crawl through the drinking establishments of The Promenade, the outdoor mall that serves in the place of downtown.
Our first stop was Bar Louie. It being a mall, all of the restaurants at The Promenade belong to chains. It being a fairly tasteful mall, they are relatively small, new chains of sit-down restaurants. Bar Louie is actually the largest chain of the ones we visited, with about 100 locations nationwide. You might have one in a mall or hotel near you; it turns out that we do, in both DC and Boston. The Bar Louie at The Promenade was definitely the place to go in town for happy hour. The night we went, it was hopping with holiday parties and small groups of people grabbing a round after work before dispersing for Christmas. It was easy to see why: both appetizers and ‘martinis’ were half price until 7pm. We say ‘martinis’ instead of martinis, because Bar Louie has a broader definition of martini than we’re comfortable with, putting anything served straight up into the category. While we might quibble with their categorization, the benefit to it is that a quite extensive selection of drinks was available for only $5 during happy hour.
What We Ordered
The Clover: Maker’s Mark Bourbon; Hennessy Cognac; agave nectar; lemon juice, orange juice
Effen Good: Effen Cucumber vodka; mint leaves; lime juice; cucumber; agave nectar
Green Apple Mule: Effen Green Apple vodka; Goslings ginger beer; cane syrup; lime juice; apple juice; cinnamon
What We Thought
The Green Apple Mule was the special cocktail of the night. It not being served in a martini glass, we had to pay full price for it, but we were curious and my sister has been on a mule kick recently; so we thought we’d give it a try. It had a nice velvety texture, and a crisp green apple flavor; but the ground cinnamon shaken liberally on top was overbearing. My brother-in-law, who doesn’t like green apple flavor, appreciated the cinnamon’s masking function; the rest of us felt it ruined what could have been a nice, simple, refresher.
The Clover and Effen Good were both decidedly on the sweeter side of what you’d expect from a drink served up. Given that, they were both also nicely balanced, with a pleasant mix of flavors. The Bourbon and brandy blend in the Clover played well off of the citrus juices. And to our taste buds, cucumber and mint are always a welcome combination.
All in all, we were fairly pleased by what our $5 bought us.