Contributing editor Paula Disbrowe claims one of the 35 chairs at the sleek The Brooklynite in San Antonio, Texas, celebrating the cocktail.
Shaking Things Up
Thanks to his potent elixirs and sense of whimsy via drinks such as The Love Beat (with gin and celery bitters; $9), Jeret Peña has stirred up both a local following and national attention. He was named a semifinalist for the James Beard Foundation Award’s Outstanding Bartending Program.
Swanky, sultry cocktail parlor with vintage glam wallpaper, antique portraits, and furniture from local thrift stores. Funky taxidermy in the bar’s special event space and ingredients such as tequila infused with the flavor of chorizo add a distinctly San Antonio flavor.
Along with high fives about the Spurs, expect an enthusiastic exchange about downtown’s rapid growth, the River Walk’s extended museum reach, and a forthcoming trolley.
Start with the drink that put Jeret on the national cocktail scene: The Missionary ($8) with gin, cucumber, blueberry sipping vinegar, and grapefruit. “It doesn’t follow the tradition of adding sugar or citrus. It gets both sweet and sour from a Korean blueberry sipping vinegar,” he says.
Best Bar Snack
The Brooklynite doesn’t serve food; instead it welcomes regular visits from local food trucks. Best bites include the Truffled Mac and Cheese topped with Cheez-Its from Tapa Tapa ($8) and Steamed Pork Buns from chef Jason Dady’s The DUK Truck ($8).
Throw caution aside and order a cocktail on tap. Jeret alternately serves Negronis, his favorite cocktail, or old fashioneds from a keg. The boozy base (as precisely measured as made-to-order drinks) is lightened up with a kick of nitrogen.
Make It At Home
Combine 3 tbsp. gin, 4½ tsp. blueberry drinking vinegar (such as HongCho), and 1 tbsp. fresh red grapefruit juice in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Cover with lid; shake vigorously until chilled (about 30 seconds). Strain into a 10-oz. glass with ice. Garnish with a grapefruit peel strip.
Makes 1 serving. Hands-on 5 min., Total 5 min.