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craft cocktails

Imperial's Tap Vieux Carré

vieux carre.jpg

I've written about barman Brandon Wise's tap Vieux Carré plenty of times—twice for MIX Magazine (RIP MIX!), and once for Neighborhood Notes. As I've written in the past, it's Wise's favorite classic cocktail—he's used Vieux Carré shots to boilermake pints of beer and he's even used shots to flavor snow cones)—and because of him (he's the one who finally hipped me to it), it's mine too.

In fact, I try to turn as many people on to it as I can—not just because of the way it tastes, or because of how easy it is to drink (think: candied whiskey)—but because it's easily one of the best deals in town.

While a standard mixer or a draft pint of craft beer can easily run you $6 (to say nothing of craft cocktails that can often run north of $10), Wise's Vieux Carré will cost you just $7—and, because it's mixed in large batches and argon-gassed from a korny keg (which keeps prep time down), it costs just $5 during Imperial's two daily happy hours.

If you head out for one (or two)—and trust me, you should—keep in mind that this is a drink that'll sneak up on you.

Besides the lemon twist and the large hand-carved ice cube, the Vieux Carré’s all spirits (rye, cognac, Benedictine, Italian vermouth and splashes of Angostura and Peychaud's bitters).

But that ice plays its part—about five minutes after your cocktail's been poured, it melts, glacially, providing your Vieux Carré with what Wise calls a "sweet spot" in which each spirit's many notes harmoniously blend themselves together into the same proper key.

Imperial, 400 SW Broadway St., 503.228.7222