Spirited Traveller: Cocktails emerge in Dallas, Texas

Tue Oct 18, 2011 10:42am EDT
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By Kara Newman

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.   Continued...

<p>Bar Manager Nicolas de Soto mixes a Calvados-based cocktail at ECC in Chinatown, London December 3, 2010. Londoners are getting serious about cocktails. REUTERS/Toby Melville</p>