Since opening earlier this year, AF+B has been cranking out food and cocktails that are impressive enough to justify a drive to Fort Worth even if you don't have other plans. What hasn't gotten as much fanfare, though, is the restaurant's impressive (if short) cocktail menu.
In an effort to bring something different to their particularly up-and-coming corner of Fort Worth, Consilient, the management group that conceived AF+B, brought in a bartender from New York cocktail hotspot Milk and Honey to build the cocktail menu here. After a few drinks, it's clear that this was a good decision.
As a result, you should probably expect to see a few trendy ingredients that you won't recognize. Hemingway fans should order the Jack Rose, a cocktail that first rose to popularity in the 1920s. Made with applejack, an apple brandy that is potent in both flavor and alcohol content, pomegranate grenadine, and a squeeze of lime juice, it's the perfect blend of strong and refreshing to enjoy with a few starter plates. You'll also see applejack again in a bourbon cocktail called American Gothic, which is equally interesting.
Simplicity is key to excellence on this cocktail menu, especially if it's got a little Mad Men-style twist. Gin is treated beautifully in The Fitzgerald, another vintage cocktail from decades past. Lemon juice, a bit of sugar, and a few dashes of angostura bitters are mixed with a top-quality gin for a cocktail that's much better than the boring gin fizz you were planning to order. It's a good thing that the Fitzgerald is a great cocktail, because gin lovers would be otherwise out of luck.
Other trendy liquors are also on display. In AF+B's interpretation of the Chilcana, a traditional Peruvian cocktail, pisco is mixed with a surprisingly sharp house-made ginger beer pisco and a generous twist of lime. For a restaurant that is focused on Texas flavors, the cocktail menu is surprisingly global. There's also a traditionally-made mescal on the menu, mixed into a simple margarita with Cointreau.
AF+B also features rotating cocktail specials, like the above-pictured tequila punch. As the server explained, fresh jalapenos and raspberries are muddled together, then mixed with fresh pineapple juice, agave, and lime. If anything, the management here has to be glad that lime prices have stabilized, considering that the citrus is practically omnipresent on the menu.
If hand-crafted cocktails are too fancy pants for you, you can always stick with the Hell's Half Acre. At any given time, most of us could probably use an ice-cold Lone Star and a shot of bourbon, and it feels especially appropriate after you've made the long haul to Fort Worth.