The End May Be Near for "Mixology," So Maybe We Could Cool It with the Vests?

A few nights ago I ducked my head into the Dram (2918 N. Henderson Ave.), Dallas' newest drinking hot spot, tricked out in a sort of dark Victorian feel that is pretty stunning. It's an impressive space, and that night it was filled with all the cool kids who love to be the first to check out anything new. (This apparently includes me.)

The Dram brands itself as "a sophisticated yet approachable experience for a clientele previously limited to pub or nightclub options." I'm not sure what this means -- there are lots of options outside pubs and nightclubs -- but I do know that the Dram feels like something new.

Till you get to the drinks.

They serve "handcrafted cocktails using a simplified approach to classics creating a balanced drink menu with nightly and seasonal specialty libations."

Huh. That's not new. Just about every bar or restaurant that has opened recently in Dallas has described their handcrafted mixology like it's period art. Yes, we'll be focusing on the pre-Prohibition cocktails of the early teens with special attention to the spirits of the South. Oh, and we will be wearing vests, and possibly hats.

Um, yeah. Can I just get a sazerac? Easy on the simple syrup.

Since everyone I talk to says Dallas is behind on trends, and because I've seen enough to agree with them, I thought I'd point out the next drinking movement coming straight out of New York City: simplicity.

According to an article on Tasting Table, a handful of bar owners are countering the mixology trend and focusing instead on unadorned imbibing. Instead of muddling fruits, infusing spirits and hand-crafting bitters from the world's most rare aromatics, they're instead focusing on booze. That's a trend I'll happily endorse.

The name Dram hints at a more subtle approach, but the drink menu points to more of the same high-end craft cocktailery that has come to dominate Dallas' drinking scene. It would be nice to have a few more bars that serve more gimlets, Manhattans and dry martinis (not that apple ones) and fewer honey badgers, lilac-infused gin drinks and other cocktails that take three lines on a menu to explain.

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Scott Reitz
Contact: Scott Reitz