It's no secret that Austin boasts some serious city pride—and we're not just talking about UT football. Our love for this town has extended to Austin's best cocktail bars and cocktail-focused restaurants, where bartenders are taking inspiration from the flavors of Austin and the palate of its residents. From a boozy homage to Willie Nelson found in one of the city's best hotel bars to jalapeño pepper shots at a tequila and mescal bar, check out these Austin-inspired cocktails.
Five cocktails inspired by Austin
Willie Nelson has a legacy in Austin that stretches for decades—as both a unique country artist and a pot-smoking living legend. The Willie’s Cup at Geraldine’s is an homage to the artist; it’s made by muddling fresh sage leaves in a julep cup, then adding High West Double Rye whiskey and hemp milk. The cocktail is garnished with a sage leaf, tiny red bandana and clip (you know, for holding the sage).
Frank's Alexis Mijares led her bar team to victory with the Capital City Collins, a cocktail that was recently crowned the 2017 Official Drink of Austin by the Austin Food & Wine Alliance. Made with locally-produced Old Highborn dry gin, lemon juice, strawberry-tarragon syrup, coconut milk, salt tincture and Topo Chico (the unofficial water of Austin), the crisp, fruity collins is designed to be sipped on Austin’s porches and patios.
West Sixth’s Ranch 616 serves cuisine inspired by flavors from the Gulf of Mexico to Texas’ border towns. Their popular shot, Fire in The Hole, is a nod to the fiery flavors found in these regions with an Austin twist. A freshly-cored jalapeño is filled with local spirits Tito’s Vodka and Paula’s Texas Orange liquer, as well as fresh lime juice and your choice of a Lone Star or Coronita chaser.
Barley Swine has taken the classic French 75 and given it a very Austin makeover. Served on draft, the Texas 35 consists of Texas grapefruit-infused Dripping Springs vodka, lemon and honey, and is topped with bubbly prosecco—perfect for enjoying during Austin’s notoriously steamy summers.
From the 1940s through the 1960s, Mary Faulk Koock was known as an exceptional hostess, throwing get-togethers attended by friends, family, Texas politicians and celebrities. Her parties grew in size and stature and—in partnership with her husband, Chester Koock—she turned the family residence into Green Pastures Restaurant in 1946. Green Pastures evolved into what is now called Mattie’s, where they are still serving the original recipe of Mary’s 1965 Milk Punch: sweet vanilla cream, aged Kentucky Bourbon, VSOP cognac, Jamaican rum and nutmeg.