Bar We Love: Branch in Mississippi

March 27, 2014 | By | Comments (3)
Bar manager Dusty Frierson; Photo: Robbie Caponetto

Bar manager Dusty Frierson; Photo: Robbie Caponetto

Chef Robert St. John’s latest outpost, Branch, is worth the drive to Hattiesburg, Mississippi, for its killer cocktails and laid-back rocker vibe. Here is what you can expect when you go.

The Vibe
This pre-Prohibition cocktail den was refurbished in the fifties—think dark wood and dim lighting mixed with mid-century modern furniture. The crowd ranges from spiffy professionals drinking clever cocktails to grad students drinking Mississippi beers like Lucky Town and Lazy Magnolia. But bourbon is the star, with a 100-plus hooch portfolio that includes a 13-year-old Van Winkle Family Reserve rye and Buffalo Trace Experimental Collection varieties.

Shaking Things Up
After developing the 1,000-bottle wine portfolio for chef Robert St. John’s food empire (including Purple Parrot Cafe and Crescent City Grill), bar manager Dusty Frierson moved on to conquer the craft cocktail scene at Robert’s newest outpost.

Ramen with house-made kimchi; Photo: Robbie Caponetto

Ramen with house-made kimchi; Photo: Robbie Caponetto

First Round
Get a taste for Branch’s experimental edge with the Left Banke ($9), a riff on French cocktails with elderflower, sparkling wine, and lemon syrup added for brightness.

Second Round
Go pro with the Nine Pound Hammer ($9)—bourbon with coffee-infused Cynar, cinnamon, vanilla, lemon, and sugar. “I lean toward the bitter, boozy, and stirred,” Dusty says.

Best Bar Snack
Get the pork cheeks ($9) served with black truffle, potato, and watercress, or try the lamb-shoulder carnitas ($9)—a fan favorite.

Tip Jar
For the best deal in the house, ask your bartender for a dram of a single barrel—think a 12-year-old Elijah Craig for about $8 (normally $16). A flight tasting of all four whiskeys cashes out under $14.

Vintage vinyls at Branch; Photo: Robbie Caponetto

Vintage vinyls at Branch; Photo: Robbie Caponetto

Make It At Home

Left Banke

Combine 1½ Tbsp. elderflower liqueur (such as St-Germain), 1 Tbsp. simple syrup, and 1½ tsp. fresh lemon juice in a cocktail shaker filled with ice cubes. Cover with lid, and shake vigorously until thoroughly chilled (about 30 seconds). Strain into a 10-oz. stemmed cocktail glass, and top with 6 Tbsp. sparkling white wine (such as Cava). Garnish with a lemon peel strip.

Makes 1 serving. Hands-on 5 min., Total 5 min.

COMMENTS

  1. small bites menu lakeland

    I need to to thank you for this very good read!! I
    certainly loved every bit of it. I have you book marked to look at new things you post…

    June 10, 2014 at 2:47 am
  2. The April Issue—What You Didn’t See | Your Hub for Southern Culture

    […] Banke is one of Branch’s signature cocktails. Make it at […]

    March 29, 2014 at 10:00 am
  3. Caleb

    Branch definitely seems like it is worth the drive. I love the atmosphere and vibe that this place offers, very unique.

    March 28, 2014 at 3:03 pm

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