Despite its name, when you think of Atomic Liquors, your thoughts might first go to beer and general manager Rose Signor’s incredible lineup of ales and sours. But for the last two years, Austin native and Atomic beverage manager Matt Graham has been balancing out the bar’s brewed offerings with seasonally focused original cocktails and plays on classics.
“My mission is to be creative and fun—not stuffy,” he says. When he’s not soliciting recipes from Atomic’s bartenders, Graham is tearing up the local cocktail competition scene, winning the Mob Museum’s Boss of the Bars battle and the Vegas edition of the traveling sideshow that is Rematch.
Fresh from his last win, Graham’s attention recently turned to Atomic’s spring menu, which launches April 1. “I think the word ‘mixology’ has become, at times, associated with a very dry and clinical cocktail experience,” he says. “If you can keep it lighthearted and fun, it will probably be easier to connect with patrons.” Wanting to incorporate something unexpected, he chose yogurt. Yes, yogurt.
“I was trying to think of a way to add texture to a warm-weather cocktail without using egg white. I thought of yogurt—being tangy and creamy without being rich—combined with refreshing cucumber juice.” One quick consultation with The Flavor Bible and Graham had his inspiration: “Tzatziki!” Otherwise known as Greek yogurt, cucumber and dill sauce.
Whatz tha Dilly-Yo ($10) starts with Noosa yogurt sweetened with Colorado hive honey. To this he adds gin, house-made dill and white pepper honey syrup, fresh cucumber juice and lemon for a drink that’s tangy, balanced and surprisingly light. Call it the other cocktail culture.
In a blender, combine 8 ounces honey, 24 ounces water, 4 sprigs of fresh dill and 1 teaspoon white pepper. Blend well, till honey is completely dissolved, and refrigerate.