A victualler is hipster (READ: ye olde English) for a licensed purveyor of spirits. This is also known as a bartender, to us plebes. Let me explain. Dining at the newly minted Rapscallion on Greenville Avenue is an adventure for the palate. Chef Nathan Tate is flexing his worldly muscles, creating flavorful dishes that excite. And quite honestly his partners Brooks and Bradley Anderson would be remiss if they didn't have a bar menu to match. So, they do. The brothers put their Boulevardier star 'tender, Eddie Eakin, to the task of creating cocktails that stand up to bold flavors such as spicy mala sauce and intense vinegars. But it's not easy reading that menu, y'all. And I'm not talking about point size (though it is a tad teensy), or that it's too dark in there.
The drink menu has wines by the glass on the left, beers on the right. In between was a cocktail menu that looked like this:
OK, mine didn't have any scribbles. But I kind of wish that it did. Not the sarcastic, asshole kind. The helpful, "this here is a brand of whiskey" kind of notes. The, "This is French for 'grapefruit' kind." (Though, admittedly, I already knew that one, because it's kind of fun to say.) Maybe everyone who goes out on Greenville Avenue already knows more about drinking fancy 'tails than I do. It's possible. I'm much more of a food person, but I'm also not shy. What if I were afraid to ask my server what the fuck a shrub was?
Imagine you're oh so very hangry. You're also extremely thirsty. You want a cocktail. You like tequila. You look at this menu and go cross-eyed. You can't recognize more than seven words on the whole page, three of which include lime, bubbles and chocolate. After about 45 seconds, you say "fuck it" and order a beer. It's a sad story, because you'd be missing out on the Sel, Sol y Limón (pictured at the top of this page), which is an absolutely killer cocktail. So I talked to Eakin himself to try to break down some of the barriers between drinker and drink at Rapscallion.
Describe each of the following in 10 words or fewer:
Non-alcoholic, potable vinegar used as a cocktail ingredient.
Short for Angostura, which is a type of bitters.
Four rums blended, one of which is spelled with an "H."
Nut-based syrup made from almonds, sugar and rose water.
Sweet sorghum is a syrup derived from the sorghum cane.
Type of sweet vermouth developed in 1786 by Antonio Carpano.
Aperitif wine developed in 1891 used in many famous cocktails.
What’s with the random use of French? Why “Pamplemousse” and not just “grapefruit?” Is it a 50 Cent reference? Or do you just like to say “Pamplemousse?” (I do.)
The cocktail uses a French liqueur called Pamplemousse.
See? I'm here to ask the dumb questions so the customers don't have to. I noticed the “mules” section has an adorable graphic as well as several liquors not usually associated with Moscow mules. Explain yourself, sir!
Traditionally, a Moscow Mule contains vodka. There have been other mules created by people smarter than me. Kentucky Mule (Bourbon), Gin Gin Mule (Gin), Oaxaca Mule (Mezcal) and so on. Technically the Goslings version would be called a Dark and Stormy, but I'm not that technical.
What in the world is a quickie as it relates to your cocktail menu?
A small, light booze cocktail to be consumed quickly, while it's still laughing at you.
Oh, it's laughing at me, is it? Same question, replace “quickie” with “chimichanga.” Who's laughing now?
The name of one of the Quickies. This will be reformatted on the menu [to make it clearer] for the guest. This is an incomplete menu item currently. They will be going live on the 21st. The name chimichanga will change as well, as it does not have enough sexual innuendo for my liking.
Same question again, replace “quickie” with “G-spot,” and please do not direct me to UrbanDictionary.com or “yo mama.”
I don't think I'm the right person to answer this question for you. This is a 'closest girlfriend with a glass of rosé on the Veritas patio' type of question.
Well! That cleared up nothing. Seriously now, with all the shrubs. Why are they even called that? Most people think shrubs go on lawns.
Acid makes food and drinks delicious. Whether it be a piece of fish or a glass of food friendly red, acidity is my friend.
What’s your favorite drink on the menu?
Kern 'n Ole. My version of a Corn and Oil with grilled lime. We make our own Falernum that I am semi-addicted to.
What are a couple of great pairing suggestions from your menu?
Farella Sauvignon Blanc with a dozen oysters, Drunken Skull with Vaudouvan Curry, Lone Star with a shot of High West Double Rye, and Prairie Artisan Ales Saison with the Szechuan Mala Fried Chicken.
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There’s a lot of chocolate on your bar menu. What’s up with that? Are they intended to be for dessert or something? Because I like that.
Only one drink is actually 'chocolatey.' I use chocolate in ninja ways for your mouth's pleasure. For instance, the spiced chocolate bitters in the All American Conference simulates the presence of American Oak aging in distilled spirits, not a cocoa flavor.
Would you be interested in teaching a course at the local community college entitled “A Beginner’s Guide to the Rapscallion Cocktail Menu?” because I’d totally sign up for that.
What's my cut per student?
How should I know? I'm the one taking a cut. I just wrote your damn final exam for you. See above. You're welcome.
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And a huge thanks to Mr. Eakin for being a good sport. His cocktails are really, really good, even if you do need to bring along your pocket copy of "Purposefully Unclear Hipster Cocktail Menus for Dummies."