Kyle Hilla, a bar manager at Bolsa restaurant in Dallas, picks a herb piece while he mixes a cocktail "Mirage" on May 13, 2015.

Kyle Hilla, a bar manager at Bolsa restaurant in Dallas, picks a herb piece while he mixes a cocktail "Mirage" on May 13, 2015.

Kye R. Lee/Staff Photographer
Bolsa

Bar manager Kyle Hilla creates a garden of earthly delights with the new spring cocktail menu at Bolsa, using fennel, basil, dill, sage and more.

Hilla is one of the more herbaceously inclined of Dallas' top mixologists, and generally, Mr. Dallas would say "meh" to all that tilling and toiling and earthy goodness. He doesn't want to drink his salads. But Hilla produces subtle, flavorful cocktails that don't let the liquor recede far from center stage.

That's the case with the Shepherd, $10, sturdy with Mount Gay Extra Old rum, leavened by goat's milk yogurt syrup and crested with an arugula leaf. Mirage, $9, creates the illusion of well-being, mixing chamomile-infused gin, a manzanilla sherry, Fever Tree tonic water and jasmine. Red Card is a fizzy "patio pounder" of Aperol and Carpano Antica vermouth for $9.

Mulcahy Farms of Oak Cliff delivers a "six pack" of herbs daily in an actual beer carton. The herbs vary, as does the brand of container. "It just depends what they've been drinking," Hilla says.

Get acquainted with these drinks at happy hour, weekdays from 4:30 to 7p.m., when cocktails regularly priced at up to $10 are $5 each.

Bolsa, 614 W. Davis St., Dallas. 214-367-9367. bolsadallas.com.

Shinsei's new shine

Shinsei

The stylish Shinsei has gotten more so thanks to the remodeled upstairs lounge, renamed the Sakaya Room. The colors are sexier, and there's a little more sense of drama for the prideful of Preston Hollow and the Park Cities to drink in.

The restaurant is touting new izakaya service in the lounge, which is Japanese talk for small plates and cocktails enjoyed in a relaxed setting. A changing assortment of free nibbles are offered from 5 to 6:30 p.m. weekdays. Asian-inspired cocktails and Shinsei's substantial sake list are available to accompany them.

Shinsei, 7713 Inwood Road, Dallas. 214-352-0005. shinseirestaurant.com.

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