February 27, 2009 | 12:03pm
Special Friday Edition
During birthday season, I had the pleasure of celebrating one of our resident girl drinker's special day at Consilient Restaurant's neighborhood-gourmet (just made that up, but now that I think about it, it's my new favorite genre of bites) eatery, The Porch.
First, let me explain that while the drinks are $8 a pop, it's well worth a steep tab to enjoy signature libations from house-made syrups and berries muddled right before your eyes. Some dish out more than ten bucks at any old joint for a dirty martini, but where's the effort in that? The Porch's friendly bar staff puts the freshest ingredients (and soul) into their girl drinks for balanced flavors and alcohol that make you giddy.
I started with the Fraise Tart, a blend of Stoli Strawberry, Cointreau and a strawberry/basil infusion. It's decadent and though too sweet for a re-order on an empty stomach, it would be a perfect replacement for dessert. The basil truly makes the drink, cutting any heaviness and adding a green lilt.
Birthday girl Marla went with the Texas Ruby Red and I admit, once I realized it was made with Fresca (a soda I have a serious passion for), I was jealous. "It's definitely not lemonade," Marla asserted as she got a strong dose of Tito's, Ruby Red grapefruit juice and my beloved. The grapefruit didn't overpower the vodka by any means and she got a stiff drink for her inaugural toast.
The Sparklin' Sangria attracted a couple of our ladies with its "sparklin' Shiraz" and grenadine (again, I must restate they make it in house). The perfectly mashed, "smashed" and abused citrus combo made it "nice and tart" and "twangy" according to Jayna, in her GDD premiere. I dug the flavor when I snagged a sip. But I didn't order my own for fear of red wine teeth.
After Dina's suggestion (and a 90-minute wait for our table), I ordered up a Crazy Aunt Mimi's Lemonade, ashamed that I didn't see it on the menu before since that's what my niece calls me...well the Aunt Mimi part, anyway. I'm sure the "crazy" will come later when she learns that word. D was dead-on. That cocktail was so good four of us ended up ordering a second (or third) once we were safely steered from teetering on bar stools to teetering on chairs with buffer food in front of us.
By the way, The Porch's gracious and bespectacled manager made up for our dinner party's delay with a fantastic table, amazing apps--the liver mousse is to die for--and one of the best servers any of us had in a long while. Props to Penny for the check separation.
Ketel One Citroen mixed with lemonade and cranberry might be my new favorite drink. It was subtly stiff but absolutely delicious to the very last sip, which is not something you find often in a girl drink. They either get watered down or gritty by the end, but Mimi proved a full-figured gal with lots of moxie through and through.
We didn't get to try the Blackberry Smash or Our Margarita, but there will be other visits. Many other visits. Amazing food aside, you can really treat yourself at The Porch. After a bad day, a birthday or hell, just a day, one of the Porch's drinks can make you feel like a deservedly pampered girl. In fact, there was discussion of massage and acupressure, pedicures and other feel-good treatments. But until appointments can be made and the back rubs commence, Aunt Mimi is just fine swilling on her crazy lemonade.