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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Change is afoot in Dallas, according to barman Michael Martensen, with self-proclaimed "cocktail bars" opening at rapid-fire pace.
He should know: As the proprietor of Cedars Social (thecedarssocial.com/),
which opened in Dallas just a few months ago - and a second bar slated to open soon - he's part of the trend.
"Dallas is breaking into the foodie culture, and with them come the drinkers," Martensen says. "The drinking scene is prevalent and coming on strong."
It helps that Dallas is a business-oriented city with "a hotel on every corner," he adds, as many of the new establishments are opening up within or in walking distance of these hotels to accommodate thirsty travelers.
As in other areas of Texas, tequila is the iconic Dallas spirit, particularly when mixed into a Margarita. Further, Dallas is credited with creating the frozen Margarita when Dallas restaurateur Mariano Martinez first used a soft-serve ice-cream machine to whip one up in 1971.
"You'll find a Margarita on every restaurant menu in Dallas," says Martensen. "You'll also find a Tequila Sour on every menu," a sophisticated addition to the tequila drink canon.
So where to knock back some tequila? Naturally, Martensen gives a nod to Cedars Social, where he serves a strawberry-spiked Tequila Sour in a "1960s bachelor den" setting. But he's not the only fan; earlier this month, the Dallas Observer gave Cedars the nod for "best bar" as well as "best cocktail" in Dallas.
Martensen's other picks skew toward the steakhouse genre, including Al Biernat's (www.albiernats.com/), where attorneys and oil men peruse the hefty wine list, and Bailey's Prime Plus (www.baileysprimeplus.com/) - the drinks list includes the aptly named High Maintenance cocktail, made with Cryovac-infused cantaloupe Milagro tequila and garnished with melon-mezcal foam.
Beyond the steakhouse, Martensen suggests a post-deal celebratory cocktail at Marquee Grill and Bar (marqueegrill.com/),
with a view of Highland Park and a drink menu created by New York mixologist Jason Kosmas. Look for the Trial Margarita, made with "found fruit" and Texas honey.
Further afield, business travelers staying at the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek can find excellent drinks at the Mansion Bar (here), such as the Marga Dita, sassed up with chipotle and a touch of rose syrup. RECIPE: Tequila Por Mi Amante (Courtesy of Michael Martensen) This refreshing Tequila Sour, served at Cedars Social in Dallas, dates back to 1937. Translated, the name means "tequila for my lover." 2 ounces Don Julio silver tequila infused with fresh strawberries
ounce lemon juice
ounce simple syrup or cane syrup Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Shake and strain into an ice-filled Collins glass. Top with club soda.
(Editing by Peter Myers and Paul Casciato)
Created by Paul Casciato