Check out our latest contribution to TALKGreenville Magazine for a bit of Labor Day entertaining inspiration!!
Enjoy your holiday weekend, belles!!
The latest installment of our TALK Greenville cocktailin’ adventures…
Photo from Basil – Greenville
Now that we are through the holidays, we are reflecting on our eatin’ (and drinkin’) habits. While we might have thrown caution to the wind for the last few weeks with lots of celebrating with friends and family, we have decided that a bit of discernment might be in order. Fresh, healthy food is on the agenda…as are drinks with a little somethin’ extra…some redeeming qualities if you will. We found just the ticket, folks…at Basil in downtown Greenville.
Options galore on the menu…
Vegan? Vegetarian? Pescatarian? Full-on carnivore? Basil is happy to accommodate! All of their dishes can be tailored to suit your needs and tastes. Even the “heat” can be adjusted. While it was confirmed to us that “Thai spicy” here in the states doesn’t really hold a candle to the heat you might get in Bangkok, they can tone it down for even the wimpiest of wimps when it comes to spice tolerance. Have it your way!
The Basil Lime Martini
Sleek, sophisticated, simple and sexy defines this beauty of a martini. If you are a martini connoisseur, then you’ve just discovered your holy grail…and it will rest deliciously in the winner’s circle every time. A mix of fresh basil, vodka and hand-pressed lime juice, this concoction is shaken at least twenty times to achieve the perfect balance of flavor and, of course, just the right amount of chill. #shook
Mix your metals…The Gold Rush and The Angry Mule
We belles are not afraid to mix our metals…in fashion or in our fortified drinks. The Gold Rush (of course, one San Francisco native belle loves this one) is a wickedly delightful combination of Bulleit Rye, Domaine de Canton (a ginger liqueur), and fresh lemon juice that will warm you all the way to your tootsies. And not to be outdone, The Angry Mule in its copper mug is the perfect order for those of us who might not be winter weather lovers. Let your winter grumbling dissolve as you sip and savor the saucy and spirited nature of this power-packed cocktail. Careful though…this donkey with an attitude just might kick your ass!
Photo by Nathan Gray
Pineapple…for that much-needed dose of Vitamin C…
Pineapple-infused Bacardi Limon Rum, fresh mint and lemongrass syrup become one of the best mojitos that we belles have ever tasted. This house specialty has been a Mojito Challenge winner several times over. And what a perfect way to start off the new year! The pineapple is a great antioxidant and reduces inflammation, the generous pour of vodka will kill any lingering germs, and of course…the mint will keep you feelin’ fresh. This drink falls in perfect line with all your healthy resolutions!
While brothers Henry and Chai Eang have hit it big in several cities with their “refined Thai cuisine” (with locations in Charlotte, Charleston, Columbia, Mt. Pleasant, and Ballantyne), each place has its own identity. You can’t miss the hundreds of elephants adorning the Greenville locale. And the “floating” lotus garden above the bar sets the tone for a truly impressive Thai experience. They are open for lunch Monday through Friday and for dinner every evening…and the happy hour specials are not to be missed! But they don’t take reservations, so just head on in…and tell ‘em the belles sent ya!
Basil . 9 North Laurens Street . (864)609-4120 . eatatbasil.com
Angi Einstein and Alex Ryan – www.therarebelle.com
Our latest TALKGreenville magazine contribution…
We decided to honor the 200+-year tradition of Oktoberfest for this month’s cocktailin’ adventure, paying a visit to our dear German friends at Schwaben House on Laurens Road in Greenville. This annual beer-party-and-more typically begins in mid-September and runs until the first weekend in October…meaning that you still have time to celebrate, folks! Schwaben House has you covered. Prost!
Don’t be shocked by the impressive “head” on your German-poured beer. Although Americans tend to frown upon this frothy foam, a true German would disagree. We all know that taste is dependent on smell…and the smell is in that bubbly top! Without that proper head, you lose half of the beer-tasting enjoyment. And, any German will tell you…if your beer doesn’t have that foamy collar, your glass must be dirty or the beer is flat. Nicht gut.
We certainly don’t promote inappropriate touching, but if you’re offered a kiss on the lips here…say yes! Served in a sugar-rimmed champagne glass and a healthy dose of sweet confetti, this concoction will have you begging for another. Comprised of vodka, raspberry sorbet and Sangue de Guida (an Italian wine with a touch of fizz) it’s sure to tickle your fancy.
It’s down right delectable, delightful and addicting….just like a good kiss on the lips! In fact, it will have you falling for more…just ask Angi!
The Washington Apple…
This fresh, crisp, fall-worthy drink tastes like you’ve been apple-picking without the labor but with all the reward! Bird Dog Whiskey is the main ingredient here and for good reason…it is one of the most intriguing whiskeys we’ve tried. We thoroughly enjoyed taste testing it neat! Add a touch of cranberry juice and some prosecco and you have yourself amazing taste thrill. Served in an artsy martini glass with a slice of fresh apple…well now you have autumnal perfection!!
It’s all in the glass…
Yes…the glass used for your beer does matter! Different beers require different classes. While a Weizenbock reqires a Weizen glass, others might require a pilsner, chalice, snifter, tulip, stein, flute, stange, pint, or even an oversized-wine glass. Do your homework, folks. Or maybe just go let Schwaben House do it for you!
With the weather finally on the brink of being decent, you might want to book a table on Schwaben House’s “biergarten” patio. This space is a German oasis just waiting for folks to enjoy a cold beer and das fressen (that’s chow, baby). And if you want our two-cents, we recommend you try the potato salad (made fresh every morning), the soups, and the salmon…and just about anything else that tickles your fancy. It’s all good, freunde!
We’ve been hittin’ the bottle again for TALKGreenville…check it out in September’s issue!!
Our kind of cleanse…
The “Cleanser” is not to be missed! We tasted the Rum Haven coconut rum as one of us has claimed she’s not the biggest fan of coconut-flavored liquors. Well, a girl can change her mind. It was so clean, crisp, and refreshing we’d drink it on its own! But why do that when you can actually “cleanse” with it? Layered with flavor, this concoction combines the Rum Haven with cucumber juice, strawberry, soda and a float of Myers Rum. A cleanser a day keeps the doctor away…just sayin.
The Pusser’s Painkiller…
Back-to-school doldrums be gone. This cocktail is the perfect remedy. This is a true painkiller…just like in the islands…as it’s made using Pusser’s Rum (a must for it to even tout the name). Add a bit of pineapple juice, orange juice and cream of coconut…almost there! The sprinkle of nutmeg floating on the top assures all your summertime vacations and island-hopping memories stay fresh while you adjust to back-to-school reality. This liquid concoction wants you to feel no pain…so sip slowly. You don’t want to be overprescribed!
The Common Cold…
A spoonful of sugar may help the medicine go down, but ice cream and bourbon make it a whole lot easier to swallow! September can be rife with those pesky summer colds and can also still be sizzling hot…but this grown-up treat sooths and cools you in just the right way. A classic vanilla milkshake so thick it hurts your cheeks trying to get it through the straw along with a healthy dose of Bulleit Bourbon and crumbled bacon make this the perfect answer when you need to keep your cool.
While perusing the menu at The Common Cure, one might be curious as to how the DCD Burger got it’s name. No…it’s not an acronym for certain ingredients (like a BLT). There’s only one “D” ingredient…and that’s the Dragon sauce. We got the scoop for ya. It’s a special burger concocted by a group of dads who have been dubbed the “Dark Corner Dads”. They are regulars who tend to gravitate to the corner booth when they are in residence. So try their burger (it’s awesome), but don’t try to take their seat!
The “Cure” truly is a “come as you are and bring the kids” kind of place…no high brows to be found. And there is something to please everyone on the menu. Choose from a long list of starters (try the “Hog Wings”…smoked pork shanks), a wide variety of sandwiches and salads, and a “fry” to satisfy almost any craving (waffle fries, shoestring fries, sweet potato fries, and onion rings). Trying to lay off the carbs? Any sandwich can be served as a lettuce wrap. Low-carb heaven! We are glad to say that this place is in our very own ‘hood. But even if it weren’t, it would be worth the trek.
drinkin’ on the job…somethin’s brewin’
We headed into Greenville’s hip West End Water Tower District for this month’s “drinkin’ experience”…landing with the cool birds at Birds Fly South Ale Project. We could not believe how cutting-edge we felt as we pulled into this up-and-coming area that was all aflutter, much to our surprise and delight. Owners Lindsay and Shawn Johnson welcomed us to their uber-chill nest of ale activity…and we nest-led right in. You will want to do the same!
First, about the name. Lindsey and Shawn, both with Southern roots, spent years on the fly with the Coast Guard but were always lookin’ to head back South. When the opportunity presented itself, they flew right in and settled in Greenville…thank goodness! Shawn’s passion for beer took root and the rest is history. They make craft beer with a “throwback approach” saying, “we don’t make beer, we wait for the beer to tell us what it wants to be”. We were quite impressed with how smart beer is these days!
Sip and Savor…
Our first foray into this ale-tasting was a surprisingly colorful array of brews. After perusing the vast menu and making some picks, we were presented with a group of 4-ounce pours to sip and savor…giving us the chance to pick a fave or two. Rustic Sunday was one favorite with its hint of rye and golden color, while Anchorage was perfect for a neutral, classic palate. Other offerings ranged from a dark and earthy brew called Parachute to Joos Raspberry with a strong element of fruit (the wine spritzer of beers if you will). Across the board, Shawn’s creations did not disappoint!
Brand New Eyes and Petite Blanc…
We had a tie for our “blue ribbon” award! While this place had us looking at everything with new eyes, Brand New Eyes was a delight for our feminine tastes. Citrusy, mild, smooth and mellow, it’s the perfect sipping ale for a warm day. And Petit Blanc locked us in and kept us wanting more. Because we are foodie-centric, we were particularly pleased with this wine-infused ale. Talk about elevating your average beer!
Keep on truckin’…
The Johnsons keep a steady schedule of local food trucks pulling in for their patrons’ nibbling pleasure, and they bring in live music to keep the crowds entertained (beyond beer, music is another of Shawn’s passions). If it happens to be a quiet afternoon/evening, pick up a game (Cards Against Humanity, anyone?) and have some fun. Their “urban farmhouse” is designed to inspire conversation, exploration and sharing.
If you have not discovered the West End Water Tower District, let us fill you in. The area is home to an old cotton warehouse now known as Hampton Station. Birds Fly South, and their neighbors (which will soon include White Duck Taco) have taken the area up a notch or two. Seems we had been missin’ out on where the cool kids hang out. Now that we have found it, good luck keepin’ us in the city!
We didn’t stray far from home for our TALKGreenville cocktailin’ adventure this month. With summer coming to an end and school back in full swing, we thought sticking to our neighborhood might be a good idea. And – bonus – we had a new joint to check out! Open just a few short months, The 05 is a hot destination among the Augusta Road (and beyond…way beyond) crowd. And with Justin behind the bar with his quick wit and top-notch toddies flowing, we can see why there’s such a buzz!
While we had drinkin’ on the mind, we couldn’t help but swoon over the creative eats at the 05! With an impressive selection of cheeses (of the cow, goat, and sheep varieties), charcuterie, and tapas (olives&almonds, Chorizo-stuffed dates, and a goat-cheesy focaccia to name a few), there’s a nibble to suit all tastes. For those in search of a bigger bite, the salads and flatbreads will not disappoint!
A pretty little signature drink, “the 05” will take the edge off a long day for sure! Fresh-n-fruity with a bit of sting from the tequila, it will sweeten your attitude and give you a fresh perspective for the evening. A mix of Blanco Tequila, Grand Marnier, lime, raspberry, basil and mint, “the 05” is tasty enough to knock your socks off, yet light enough to keep you from falling off the barstool. You will want to put this one repeat!
The 19th Hole
If a cocktail can cause a craving, “the 19th Hole” would be the one! Cool and complex with the pleasantly surprising taste of cardamom, it’s like a spa in a glass…conjuring images of a far off and exotic land. The blend of vodka, basil, cucumber, cardamom, celery salt and small batch tonic makes you want to keep sippin’…with your curiousity and craving growing with each taste. This libation will keep you cool and coming back for more!
The indoor-outdoor setup at this trendy little spot will be hard to beat when the summer heat fades to fall. Step inside to grab a solo seat at the bar, grab a table with friends or make new friends at the community table…or step outside for your cocktailin’ pleasure. The whole place opens up to patios in front and out back for all to enjoy the great outdoors. A little fresh air will do ya good!
The ’05 is the perfect watering hole to meet with your gal pals or rendezvous with your significant other for a little date-night liquid concoction and a light bite. Fashion varies at this little oasis…anything from workout wear to cocktail couture is acceptable. The vibe is more about enjoying the atmosphere and savoring the company. Conversation and mood trump attire every time. How nice that it’s always five o’clock somewhere…and that somewhere is in our neck of the woods!
We slipped on our gringa hats for this month’s TALKGreenville cocktailin’ experience…stopping in at Gringo’s Cantina in downtown Greenville. Just a few steps out of Falls Park, this delightful space has been transformed into an authentic Baja-like oasis!
Like a salad in a glass with super-refreshing cucumber and cilantro, this generous pour of upscale tequila added to house-made sour mix is a muy bien libation. This potion balances sharp, tangy, vibrant and refreshing with a hint of sweetness…and the salted rim is the perfect finish. If you are not a salt fan, at least try it on half…you will be happy you did. And your tastebuds will be crying gracias!
The Strawberry-lemon Margarita
This little lovely seems fruity and mild…but don’t be fooled. Tequila is tequila, folks…no matter how sweet and innocent she might seem! As with their food, nothing is canned, packaged or premade – so this concoction boasts fresh strawberries and freshly squeezed lemon for a smooth, summery, light and breezy elixir. It’s perfect for an afternoon beverage which may or may not lead to an afternoon siesta.
Ya can’t say a gringo doesn’t take care of his own. Twice each year, Gringo’s spearheads the Greenville version of the “running of the bulls”…a charity event with loads of laughter and libations. Essentially a bar crawl with a “bull” bringing up the rear, the real focus is on giving back. Each participating bar donates $1 per drink to a chosen charity. (registration is $10…link on the website or on instagram @gringosgreenville)
Of course, one needs more than just “aperitivos” to remain upright around all that tequila! Although we could eat our weight in their “guacam-olé” one of the best we have ever had…and we are judgy) and super-fresh salsa (so fresh-n-frisky it’ll make ya want to salsa with your neighbor), we highly suggest digging a bit deeper into Gringos’ fresh fare. The Baja fish tacos are pretty much what started the whole shebang…why not start there?!
Our TALKGreenville cocktailin’ adventure this month took us in a slightly different direction. This time it involved less mixin’ and more easy, laid-back sippin’…perfect for this long, hot summer! We headed just outside of the confines of “downtown” to visit Mike Okupinski and Ed Buffington at The Community Tap where the beer gets its deserved attention, but the wine refuses to play second fiddle. We were pleasantly surprised!
Magnum, Jereboam, Methuselah…go big or go home…
While you can always grab your ho-hum-regular-sized bottle of vino for your everyday enjoyment, we get a little giddy at the idea of a super-sized bottle to share while entertainin’! We are thinking a giant Jeroboam (equal to 7 bottles of wine) would make an excellent bar center/conversation piece! TCT has you covered on all fronts.
Leave the corkscrew at home..:
Imagine our surprise when the most talked-about wine in the place was in a…wait for it…can!! Koozie-friendly and “pinkies-down” casual, all three varieties (Rosé, Pinot Gris, and Pinot Noir) from Union Wine Company’s “Underwood” label are spot-on delicious! And with the loss of glass recycling in the city, it is practically our duty to promote these winning wines!
How could we mention The Community Tap without shining a big spotlight on the TAP!? The first retailer in the Upstate to offer “growlers”, TCT keeps twenty ever-changing taps of beer steadily flowing for their patrons’ enjoyment. Because many of the best craft brewers only produce small batches in kegs, the tap is the only way to sample those wares. Sit-n-sip or take a growler for your sippin’ pleasure at home.
While TCT keeps a few, select nibbles on-hand (don’t miss the to-die-for Swamp Rabbit Cafe baguette – delivered fresh daily), Mike and Ed made the conscious decision to skip the food prep headaches in order to focus on what they do best…beer and wine. But never fear. Patrons have no excuse to leave hungry! These fellas schedule food trucks on the property every day except Sunday. Brilliant!
The Community Tap now has the two of us to count in their ever-growing fan base. We plan to return again and again for the super-cool-casual atmosphere (all of the wood in the place if from an old fertilizer plant in Pickens), a low-brow wine-tasting, or to simply relax on the deck. And when it comes to planning the perfect Fourth of July picnic off-site, how can you beat a delicious hunk of bread, some good cheese, a growler of cold beer, and a six-pack of wine? Easy. Convenient. Done!
Alex Ryan and Angi Einstein – http://www.therarebelle.com
We love it when something gives us a giggle…and this month’s cocktailin’ experience ranks right up there with the best of ‘em. Dive & Boar…a Swill & Thrill Pub is a virtual den of irreverent humor… edgy, controversial, a little wicked…and oh-so-refreshing! From being greeted by “Miss Pearl”, the “boar at the door” painting by local artist (and dear friend) Starr Haney, to Chase introducing himself as “creator of liquid excitement”, we knew we had found the right place to dive right in for some tipplin’.
With a nod to typical “dive fare”, Chase and Maggie’s team keeps a generous supply of jell-o on hand…in the form of jell-o shots, that is. And the “Adult Chocolate Milk” is right up the chocolate-lover’s alley! A grown-up’s concoction served in a glass milk carton with a homemade cookie alongside, this is the perfect way to wrap up the “dive” experience.
Saké Prison Hooch…
Ya might call this “grown-up Capri-sun”…but the bag and straw are the only similarities. A potent concoction of low-brow ingredients (like boxed wine) inspired by “Orange is the New Black”, this might be our new go-to. Chase tells us it only gets better the longer it hangs out in the fridge…so we think we might need him to get us all stocked up!
Green, Mean, Fightin’ Machine…
Blending “super green juice” (think fresh-pressed green apples, arugula…) with some special “farm-to-bottle” spirits, this elixir is like a salad in a glass…hello, summer! Chase puts some extra love and care into a pretty floral ice ball infus’d with orange oil for just the right touch of freshness. It’ll keep ya mean & lean.
You Need Nachos…or Wings…or some Evening Slop
Of course, one needs some nibbles if one is to partake in all this good cocktailin’. From three kinds of nachos in two sizes (“introvert/lonely” size and “just got my tax check/entourage” size) to the ’77 Elvis Burger (yes…it has peanut butter) there is no excuse to leave this dive hungry! And don’t forget to read the fine print on the menu…it’s hilarious! ‘Nuff said.
The original aesthetic at Dive & Boar was BBQ, but it quickly morphed into a new, innovative take on the old-school dive bar. A place equally welcoming to a gaggle of gals or a belle bringing her beau, they encourage you to step out of the box and test the waters…especially when it comes to the libations! The cocktail menu is inspired by poetry, classic films, and Netflix (they claim to have been paid to say that), and focuses on craft’d house infusions, syrups and juices to “raise the brows and awaken the pallet”. But it changes with the season – or on an ADD whim – so go soon and go often. You don’t want to miss out on what Chase and Maggie are servin’ up!