Until two months ago, brunch or dinner at DW Bistro was usually accompanied by wine, beer, or one of a handful signature cocktails, including DW’s margarita, Bloody Mary, mojito, and seasonal infusions that complement the spot’s Jamaican-influenced cuisine. Having a yawning cocktail compendium was not really on the agenda. But two months ago, general manager Rudy Aguas cautiously waded in, adding four new cocktails to the menu, and the response has been encouraging—enough so that Aguas is now prepared to go deep into cocktail history for the bistro’s new secret cocktail menu.
“I want this to be a destination for mixology,” says Aguas, a former bartender. “I want DW Bistro to be known for it’s great cocktails.” The new menu features five cocktails ($12 each) made with domestic spirits wherever possible, such as Aguas’ choice of Oregon-made Anestasia vodka and St. George gin from California. “I’ve always been intrigued by classic cocktails,” he says. Indeed, there are plenty of nods to historical drinking habits. Aguas also raided the DW kitchen for fresh herbs, house-made jam and complex peppers.
When the new cocktail menu launches June 26, guests will have to ask for by name. So, here’s that, as well as our first-sip thoughts on each.
DW Prohibition Cocktail Menu
Anestasia vodka is paired with the house-made strawberry jam DW Bistro serves with its pastries, plus fresh lemon juice—simple and refreshing as a homemade strawberry lemonade, assuming you spike yours, too.
Verdict: It’s easily the best vodka cocktail I’ve had in a long time.
Paying homage to the original, St George Terroir gin mingles with lemon juice and honey. But the addition of egg white contributes body, while apple bitters bring a floral complexity. Fresh lemon thyme from the DW pastry chef’s own garden makes for an irresistible aroma.
Verdict: An intriguing spin on one of the most famous three-ingredient cocktails out there.
Inspired by the Hemingway daiquiri, this one combines El Dorado Deluxe silver rum, Luxardo maraschino liqueur, grapefruit juice, lime juice, just a touch of simple syrup and egg white.
Verdict: She’s as delicate as a doily. Like Hemingway, I’ll take mine without the sugar, though.
This one keeps it all-American with Utah’s High West American Prairie Reserve whiskey and Oregon’s Clear Creek cranberry liqueur, plus simple syrup, bitters and Filthy Cherries. True, The Bitter Truth’s Jerry Thomas’ Own Decanter bitters are made in Germany, but Thomas is widely regarded as the Father of American Mixology. So maybe let it slide.
Verdict: Subtle; it doesn’t bang you over the head with a barrel stave.
A deliciously spicy margarita (pictured), with Bracero reposado tequila, Grand Marnier, agave nectar, lime juice and Grace’s Red Hot Pepper Sauce with an ancho chile-sugar rim. DW Bistro has partnered with mobile gifting app It’s On Me for the launch party, at which guests will get to name this cocktail for good.
Verdict: Balanced and with a just-right heat. Which way to the pool?