Craft beer, wine by the glass, a cocktail composed of fresh ingredients — these have become a part of Fort Worth's dining vernacular. These days, restaurants are putting as much effort into what you're drinking as what you're eating.
Taking this better-drink craze a step further, many eateries have begun to incorporate seasonality into their cocktail program, just as they do with food. This month's Where to Eat is raising a glass to those restaurants with new summer drinks.
This flashy Mexican restaurant, which opened earlier this year on the city's south side, is serving a summer drink that combines booze with dessert. The "poptail" features a frozen pop of your choice — strawberry, watermelon, or mango — dunked into a puree of strawberry and mango, tequila, club soda, and simple syrup. They outline the rim of the glass in Tajin chili pepper, for a kick of kaboom.
An essential part of dining at this veteran West Seventh pizzeria is dreamily staring at the room-size chalkboard of rotating specials, which always include a new cocktail to try. For July, that drink is the Peach Smash, a fruity cousin of the Mint Julep that was first created by Dale DeGroff, author of The Craft of the Cocktail. The drink combines Old Forester whiskey with muddled fresh peaches and lemons. It's strained over ice, then finished with a mint garnish.
Argyle's food and drink scene is on the upswing, and one of the newest players is Kimzey's Coffee, a coffeehouse and bar that opened in March at the same intersection as Earl's 377 Pizza and Bumbershoot BBQ. It occupies an impossibly charming fairy-tale cottage where it serves up espresso drinks, coffee, tea, and pastries. They just added milkshakes to the menu, with drinks like Bees Knees, made with Beth Marie's lavender and honey ice cream and a shot of espresso; an adults-only version comes with a shot of whiskey.
This small chain started in Frisco before expanding to the West 7th area in 2015. With dishes such as white bean hummus and shrimp and akaushi beef pho, it's a cut above the typical sports bar. A new addition to its cocktail menu is the Goombay Smashed, a tropical-themed drink comprised of coconut moonshine infused with banana and macadamia nut, mixed with Myer's dark rum, apricot jam, and pineapple juice.
The May opening of Meso Maya in Fort Worth brought not only an upscale approach to Mexican food — chicken with mole, house-made tortillas — but a cocktail that's been a favorite in Dallas, where it debuted in 2011. It's an avocado margarita, made creamy with the addition of muddled avocado, pineapple and lime juices, and triple sec. Fresh-and-fruity margaritas are a thing here; there's one with cucumber, and another with fresh muddled strawberry and serrano pepper.
Attached at the hip of Michael Thompson's long-running Ameri-Tex bistro is the Ancho Chile Bar, where seasonal drinks are a regular thing. Bartender Katy Hough has introduced a half-dozen new drinks for summer, including her rendition of a Moscow Mule called the Bee Sting. The drink mixes Austin's 9 Banded Whiskey, Fever Tree ginger beer, and a lavender liqueur infused with local honey sourced from a bee farm owned by her father-in-law.
Piattello Italian Kitchen
Chef Marcus Paslay, owner of the acclaimed Clay Pigeon restaurant, scores again with Piattello Italian Kitchen, the sizzling-hot restaurant he opened in the Waterside district in January. The cocktail list is brief, but includes a tropical drink called the Costiera that's perfect for summer patio sipping. It's a mix of three juices — papaya, pineapple, and lime — infused with Don Q's Anejo rum and coupled with brown sugar simple syrup and two dashes of lemon bitters.
TopGolf Fort Worth
Add Fort Worth to the list of locations for this fancy driving range concept, where you can golf, eat, and drink. The food menu specializes in Man vs. Food-style dishes like beer queso and Cap'n Crunch-breaded fried chicken served atop caramelized French toast. A full bar serves beer, wine, and cocktails, including a quartet of enticing summer drinks. The fruitiest of the four is the watermelon margarita, made with Casamigos Blanco Tequila, watermelon puree, margarita mix, and a wedge of watermelon dusted in chile lime powder.