With the slightest temperature drop comes a desire to put away the rosé and sip on something a little more robust, like whiskey. The smooth spirit is having a moment in Fort Worth right now. More establishments are showcasing whiskey and its many categories — including bourbon, rye, and scotch — with several selections and cocktail offerings. From barbecue joints and distilleries to a hotel bar with “whiskey” in the name, here are five of Fort Worth’s best places to sip the strong stuff.
Barrel & Bones
As its name implies, Montgomery Plaza’s newest tenant specializes in whiskey and barbecue, but it’s the former that’s — so far — been more impressive than the latter. There are nearly 200 whiskey selections available here, including uncommon finds like Forged Oak Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey and Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve. Inside, repurposed whiskey barrel staves cover the walls and create a rustic interior, which is emphasized by dark wood furnishings and dim lighting. Service staff is knowledgeable regarding spirit selections, and there’s a drink list for those who prefer the strong stuff mixed in a cocktail. Try the red velvet old fashioned, made with cherry and walnut bitters, or the Texas en fuego, which combines orange and lime juices, agave nectar, and a jalapeno slice with whiskey.
Firestone & Robertson Distilling Co.'s 80,000-square-foot whiskey wonderland is the largest distillery west of the Mississippi River. Tours are now available Thursday through Saturday at 12:30 pm and 2 pm, and they include tastings of TX Whiskey and TX Straight Bourbon ($15 per person). Or, visit the distillery’s on-site bar, called TX Tavern. Hours are very limited (Thursday and Friday just from 4-6 pm). But the cozy, rustic-chic space is worth the short visit for cocktails like the TX Smash, made with lemon juice and mint, and the pecan old fashioned, which uses molasses vanilla syrup.
Whiskey & Rye
Kick back on plush leather armchair at this Omni Fort Worth Hotel lobby bar and open the drink menu to be educated on whiskey from page one. “Whiskey is a broad term much like the word beer,” says the manual, which goes on describe types of whiskey, like bourbon and rye, as well as outline more than 100 selections in multiple categories like Japanese and single malt scotch. Cocktails here include various versions of the Manhattan and old fashioned, as well as “favorites” like the Hell’s Half Acre sazerac made with rye whiskey and a dash of Tabasco sauce. Wear your boots on Tuesdays for a shining from M.L. Leddy’s and enjoy live music. Both start at 5 pm.
Acre Distilling Co.
A history lesson on Hell’s Half Acre comes with a visit to this downtown Fort Worth distillery, where two kinds of whiskey (and several other spirits) are crafted on site. Both whiskeys — a straight bourbon whiskey and a single barrel select bourbon whiskey — are named “Longhair Jim” after a short-fused sheriff named Timothy Courtright who worked Fort Worth’s streets in the late 1800s. Book a tour (which comes with a seat on the production floor, tastings, and a complimentary cocktail) and hear all about the notorious time in the area of Cowtown for which the distillery is named. Or visit Acre’s bar (open every day but Monday). Look for the distillery to release its new single malt whiskey soon; distilled from barley grown in Vega, Texas and then malted, milled, and mashed in Fort Worth.
Stay with us here. Most folks don’t visit Heim Barbecue for the bar, but the popular barbecue joint’s best-kept secret might be its whiskey collection and subsequent selection of boilermakers — beers mixed with a shot of whiskey. There are currently 102 different whiskeys offered. It’s a list that’s constantly fluctuating according to what customers like, says owner and general manager Emma Heim. Selections are categorized by bourbon, rye, American whiskey, Canadian whiskey, Irish whiskey, and even Asian whiskey. As for the boilermakers, the term once referred to craftsmen who built and maintained steam locomotives in the 19th century and needed something strong to hit them fast. A favorite is the “local breakfast,” made with Lakewood Temptress milk stout, Avoca cold brew coffee, and TX whiskey.