This content is for those over the legal drinking age. Enjoy the best of RGV spirits but please drink responsibly.
I hope that you were able to enjoy some of the delicious cocktails mentioned in our first part of the Mixology series, but don’t worry, that was only the beginning.
The Mixologist of the RGV never cease to amaze me and I’m always excited to speak to these artists about their passion. Especially when I get to watch them as they work.
The RGV is definitely making headway in this popular trend and the greatness will only continue to grow.
Bodega Tavern and Kitchen
When you first step into Bodega, you instantly feel the energy and immediately recognize that this is going to be one amazing experience. The environment is perfectly balanced. Music just loud enough to hear in the background; the lighting is dim; the ambiance is divine.
I take a seat at the bar and find a menu full of astounding drinks listed. I can’t decide which to choose; they all sound so sophisticated and high end.
I ask Hector, one of the many Mixologists at Bodega, what Angostura Bitters is, just so I can get a better idea of what the drink I’m contemplating on ordering will taste like. He explains to me exactly what it is.
Angostura Bitters is simply a botanically infused alcoholic mixture of perfectly paired ingredients. I decide to order the “Angostura Colada” and watch as Hector combines Jamaican Rum, Pineapple Coconut Crème, Angostura Bitters, and lemon. I’m feeling a little excited to see such an original twist on the basic pina colada and think about how refreshing this drink will be to beat the summer heat in the RGV.
He goes on to give the drink a few solid shakes, and then serves it in a porcelain shaped tiki figure, making me feel like I’m on vacation. After my first sip, I was ready to order another. But as a responsible drinker, I hold back my urge. The citrus flavors combined with the coconut crème and rum result in my taste buds having a delicious adventure. I was really glad I gave that drink a shot because it hit the spot.
I skim through the menu one last time and find my eyes attracted to “El Macua”, which is part Flor de Cana, lemon, orange, guava, and simple syrup – all fresh ingredients. I watch as Christian, another of Bodega’s amazing Mixologists, prepares my drink oh so meticulously. He finishes up with a few hard shakes and proceeds to serve it in a recycled veladora (candle).
Yes, you read that correctly. How resourceful and creative is that?
Some people might find this strange, but I feel that it is a great representation of our culture in the RGV. Plus, it’s environmentally friendly. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. You know the saying.
Bodega has an array of drinks to choose from, which includes three award winning, original recipe cocktails: Southern Garden, Lemon Cotti, and Beety Beety Bom Bom. Go ahead and try any one of these. They’re all spectacular.
My overall experience at Bodega Tavern and Grill can only be described in one word, phenomenal. Hector, Aldo, Christian, and all of the other talented Mixologist really know how to make you feel comfortable, and are extremely knowledgeable about their craft. In speaking with this special team of Mixologists, you can sense that they really love to develop innovative techniques and drinks to make Bodega’s customers eager to come back for more.
Last, but not least, you also might want to try their Prickly Daiquiri because according to Christian, when a bartender creates a Daiquiri, “you can see through their soul”.
The Orchard Lounge
When I first walked into The Orchard Lounge, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I had heard great things about the establishment and was eager to try out their spirits.
I chose to sit at a table this time, as I was with some friends, and we wanted to experience this as a group.
I was tempted to ask if they wanted to move to the bar because it was so gorgeous. The décor was elegant and classy. It was a larger-than-usual sized bar, but went well with the restaurant’s design. I glanced at the menu of signature cocktails and noticed two of my favorite ingredients – bourbon and blackberries. I had to try it.
I asked our waiter what his thoughts were on the “Blackberry Bourbon Smash”. He claimed it was one of their bestselling, so I went right for it. The ingredients included fresh muddled blackberries, mint, ginger ale, and bourbon. I would be crazy not to try such a concoction.
I traveled over to the bar just to get a sneak-peek of what exactly goes into making the drink. I saw the Mixologist, Aaron, working meticulously behind the bar, carefully mixing the blackberries and mint together, and then brilliantly adding in the rest of ingredients.
My mouth was watering as I eagerly awaited to get a taste of this beverage. I went back to my table, where my drink arrived a few seconds later, and took my first sip. Delicious!
The ginger ale worked perfectly with the subtle combination of the fruit and herb mixture, making this bourbon based drink a winner in my book. I took sips of my drink in between a great conversation with my friends. After a break from conversing and sipping, I decided to try the “Hibiscus Mint Margarita”, which was part of the “Margarita Flights” my friend had ordered. The drink consisted of four small margaritas of the Mixologist’s choice.
To be honest, it was a bit sweet for my taste, but nonetheless had a great flavor.
The mixture of hibiscus and mint complimented each other well and gave this drink a good balance of flavors.
Mixologists at The Orchard Lounge definitely know how to prepare their cocktails. I had a chance to speak momentarily with Aaron and could tell that he was passionate about what he does and took great pride creating such flavorful drinks.
Thank you to The Orchard Lounge for the great experience and for providing such a modern, fun, and elegant establishment.
This isn’t the end though. Stay tuned for Part III of our “Best of Mixology” series. If you have any suggestions, please let me know.
I would love to try and make it out to see what every city in the RGV has to offer.
Remember, drink responsibly and drive sober or get pulled over.