Dining & Drink

Bar Review: 21st Amendment

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Library of Liquor

By Blair Jackson
TFW Editor

ATMOSPHERE

With dozens of shelves and a floor-to-ceiling ladder behind the bar, there is a sense that 21st Amendment is a library of liquor, and with a knowledgeable staff and the largest liquor selection on Dickson, the association is pretty accurate. Dark wood, leather sofas and mounted boar heads create a masculine and mature environment, perfect for small groups or singles who would like to sit and enjoy drinks and conversation.

QUALITY

21st Amendment’s Happy Hour is mediocre at best; though you can drink from the well for $2 every day, drinking Bellows (the bar brand of Heaven Hill) in the library of liquor is really just pointless. Beer drinkers get a decent deal at $1.25 domestics every single day. The real value of 21st Amendment is in the unique variety of spirits that line the wall behind the bar. For you thrill-seekers out there, The Free Weekly compiled a list of reasonably priced spirits to give a shot. (Pun intended.)

Ron Pampero Aniverario Reserva Exclusiva Rum

A product of Venezuela, Ron Pampero is a spicy, exotic and flavorful rum. This spirit is smooth and carries absolutely no bite. The familiar warming sensation of rum, paired with flavors of vanilla and cocoa, makes this the perfect winter spirit that can be enjoyed neat, no problem. For those who would like to mix it up, consider lemon-lime soda.

Tito’s Handmade Vodka

Made in Austin, this vodka is distilled six times in a copper pot to eliminate impurities. Though the first sip carries the hefty bite of straight liquor, the second sip reveals Tito’s smoothness. This handmade vodka settles on the center of the tongue, leaving the palate unburdened by the bitterness that an impure spirit will leave behind. Suggested mixers: cranberry or orange juices or tonic with a lime wedge.

Hendrick’s Gin

Marketed as “a most unusual gin,” this spirit is made in small batches, and like Tito’s Vodka, is made by hand and is distilled in a copper pot, keeping bitter or sour flavors from resting on the palate. Traditional gin drinkers may scoff at the mellow flavor of Hendrick’s, but those with an open mind will enjoy the unique flavors of rose petal, cucumber and lime that create a sweet and sprucy  flavor that can be enjoyed chilled as a traditional martini or with tonic and lime.

Milagro Anejo Tequila

Aged for more than a year, this tequila is for sipping or mixing. Shooting this tequila with the traditional lime and salt accoutrements would simply do the spirit a disservice. The initial salty flavor of Milagro sweetens with each sip as the palate adjusts and begins to pick up the agave flavor. For those who prefer cocktails, this is an excellent ingredient in a top-shelf margarita or a Paloma. Those feeling adventurous can order this tequila neat to be sipped like a cognac.

Buffalo Trace Bourbon

Sure, you’ve had bourbon before, but not like this. Buffalo Trace markets its flavor as evoking a sense of wilderness, and the distinct taste of grain lends a down-home feeling to this liquor. To capture this distinct flavor, the white dog (the raw spirit produced by the grains), is extracted from the distilling process at an earlier point than most bourbons and is then aged in white oak barrels. To get the full effect of this unique bourbon, sip it neat. It would also do well in a traditional Manhattan.

40 Creek Canadian Whiskey

Forty Creek is widely-acclaimed in its native country and for good reason. To create this spirit, each grain is distilled and aged separately in charred barrels for six to 10 years. When each spirit has reached its potential, the three are decanted and combined into a sherry cask, in which the spirits age together for an additional six months. The resulting spirit is a smooth, sweet whiskey that can be enjoyed with a traditional lemon-lime soda or ordered neat.

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