Craft beer gets a lot of the limelight these days, but fans of a well-constructed cocktail haven't been left behind on Dallas' drinking landscape. The allure of exotic liqueurs and reinvented classic recipes emanates from the pages of thoroughly considered menus at steakhouses, beer bars, fast-casual counters and, yes, the mysterious and occasionally maligned cocktail dens.
Aspersions like "pretentious" and "extravagant" are sometimes cast at cocktail culture. It's often associated with fedoras and hipsterdom, both of which are ... a matter of taste, similar in that regard to a chipotle tincture or Cointreau spherification. Perhaps you're among the elite whose palates have evolved to appreciate bitter profiles and unpronounceable ingredients. Maybe you're not quite there.
Either way: Have you ever caught yourself ordering a drink not so much for its artisanal sophistication but mainly because its name made you chuckle?
That's OK. You're human.
Catching a pop culture reference on a menu isn't a particularly unique experience, but it can often be an amusing one. Here are some of our favorites -- drinks inspired by or named for movies, characters, songs, television shows and larger-than-life figures -- currently available for purchase at bars and restaurants in D-FW.
The Clothesline at Bird Cafe
Bird Cafe landed in Fort Worth's Sundance Square in late 2013, and it balances an impressive list of beers, wines and "nectar," a.k.a. craft cocktails. A riff on the 1972 Oscar winning film, The Godfather, this special doesn't live on the regular menu. Get it now through January.
Manager Amber Davidson explains that The Clothesline spins out from the classic Godfather cocktail and keeps going. "We've taken it a little further by adding in a quote from the movie The Godfather, secured to the glass by a tiny clothespin," she says.
The Clothesline: Toki Japanese Whisky, Amaretto, Pedro Ximenez Sherry and a Luxardo cherry for $12
Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds at Abacus
Someone might have told you that the title of this John Lennon-penned Beatles song is code for "LSD," but Lennon and his songwriting partner Paul McCartney denied it vehemently; it was instead, they argued, an homage to Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland, inspired by Lennon's son Julian, who composed a drawing at nursery school with the same title.
As for Uptown Dallas restaurant Abacus, the song in turn inspires a frothy pink concoction as light and colorful as kaleidoscope eyes.
Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds: Ford's Gin, lemon, strawberry shrub, champagne for $12
See also: Other pop culture and literary options at Abacus include Secret Garden, Fly Away on My Zephyr (a reference to the Red Hot Chili Peppers song) and the Hemingway Daiquiri, each pictured in the slideshow below. Click on the three dots in the bottom right corner for ingredient descriptions.
Violet Beauregard at Lark on the Park
If the image of Oompa Loompas rolling a tween girl through the bowels of Willy Wonka's chocolate factory to be juiced didn't thoroughly eliminate your desire for blueberries (or gum, or chocolate, or humanity), then Lark on the Park's electric purple, pineapple-blueberry libation might be for you.
The cocktail takes its name and inspiration from Roald Dahl's uber-competitive character, whose passion for gum chewing and disregard for others ends disastrously. A word of warning: If at any point you hear this song, stop drinking immediately and run.
Violet Beauregard at Lark on the Park: Gin Mare, pineapple-blueberry and rosemary reduction, lime for $13
Wallstreet Bully at Mudhen Meat and Greens
Gordon Gekko got your tongue? You might appreciate this pick from Mudhen Meat and Greens, the vegetable-forward lunch spot at the revamped Dallas Farmers Market. It was inspired by the famous Charging Bull sculpture in New York City's Financial District.
Interesting fact: The statue was not commissioned by the city, but rather completed and installed guerrilla-style as an ode to the "strength and the power of the American people" following the market crash of 1987. Police almost had it carted away for obstructing traffic, but it remains today as both a popular tourist attraction and iconic -- if controversial -- symbol of American capitalism.
Wallstreet Bully at Mudhen: George Dickel Rye, blood orange Ramazzotti and Angostura bitters for $10
Free Falling at Whiskey Cake
This bad boy from Plano's Whiskey Cake will take you straight back to 1989 when Tom Petty was breaking hearts up and down Ventura Boulevard and fit gals in neon spandex were gathering the courage to roll down a half pipe for the first time. It doesn't have to make sense; if the song is real you feel it.
Free Falling at Whiskey Cake: Absolute Elyx Vodka, Laird's Apple Brandy, cranberry, local honey, lemon and nutmeg for $10
Shakespeare Sister at Wild Detectives
She has a name, you know: Judith.
That's Shakespeare's sister, a fictional character Virginia Woolf invented as a thought experiment in her seminal feminist essay, "A Room of One's Own." Had Judith been born with equal talent as her brother William, Woolf argues, restrictive societal constructs would likely have prevented her from creating the foundations of Western literature. That's why ol' girl needs a space of her own and a paycheck.
The Wild Detectives probably cannot help you out with rent, but they offer a quiet, literary space for musing and handwritten notations (they famously pulled weekend WiFi last year to encourage smart conversation sans internet connection). Brand director Andres de la Casa-Huertas says this seasonal, springtime cocktail is a "very well balanced" take on a whisky smash.
Shakespeare Sister at The Wild Detectives: fresh blackberries, lemon juice, honey, mint, bourbon, St. Germain and Peychaud's bitters for $10.50
A trio of treats at The People's Last Stand
Oh, you like movies? Music? Books? We're not highlighting a single pop culture cocktail from The People's Last Stand because Mockingbird Station's upstairs lounge has a million great ideas, and they change from week to week. Three from their regular menu that made us smile:
April O'Neil -- That's right, the foxy redheaded reporter who hangs out with and assists the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in her rad yellow jumpsuit gets her own spot on the menu. Breaking news: Reporters don't get to actually wear bitchin' jumpsuits, but that's what makes her an icon. April O'Neil: strawberry and kiwi-infused vodka, lemon, brown sugar, cucumber, ginger beer for $10
Berry White -- Can't get enough of this drank, babe. Smooth, sweet and delicious just like the velvet-voiced Grammy winner, Barry. Berry White: Rour Roses Bourbon, orange, lemon, wild berry cordial, berry compote, brown sugar for $10
Sleeping With the Enemy -- Man, remember when Julia Roberts could do know wrong? This creepy, cheese 1991 thriller taught us that the labels of canned vegetables should always be facing forward and you can try to flush a wedding ring down the toilet, but you can't get rid of a horrible marriage that easily. Sleeping With the Enemy: Ketel One Vodka, Kronan Swedish Punsch, lemon, strawberry, brown sugar, champagne for $12
Scroll through for a look at each:
Gun by Warhol at Cafe Modern
All of the house cocktails at Fort Worth's Cafe Modern are named after famous paintings you can see on a stroll through the adjoining Modern Art Museum. All are high-brow, but at least one is a pop-obsessed reference to mid-century artist Andy Warhol. You can see his "Gun" (1982) in the museum's permanent collection and enjoy a taste of a bubbly, bourbon-y cocktail inspired by it.
Gun by Warhold at Cafe Modern: W. L. Weller Bourbon, Solerno, lime, ginger beer for $10
The Wayward Son at Wayward Sons
If putting radishes and cilantro in a libation seems like the work of a bartender "masquerading as a man without reason," give this prodigal child a second look. The eponymous signature cocktail from Greenville Ave. spot Wayward Sons is, like prog-rock band Kansas' 1977 billboard hit "Carry On Wayward Son," a nod to those who do things their own way.
The Wayward Son at Wayward Sons: Gilbey's Gin, yellow chartreuse, radish, cilantro, cucumber, jalapeno, pepper for $12
Swipe Rey-T at the Libertine
Even if you've been out of the dating game for awhile, we're betting you get this clever app reference. If not, we'll break it down: Swiping right on the photo of a fellow Tinder user means you would like to meet that lady or gentleman for a ... um, romantic date, or something.
Choosing this cocktail at The Libertine Bar just means you have an appreciate for witty puns and dry whiskey.
Swipe Rey-T at the Libertine Bar: Apricot-infused Redemption Rye, strawberry Aperol, lemon, ginger and mint for $9
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