Truth be told, I planned our whole 3 generation family vacation around visiting Charleston. Scheduling my parents’ time share at Myrtle Beach this year instead of Orlando was to get me closer to the historic city that I’ve wanted to check out for over a decade. We were expecting lots of charm and grandiose southern homes. We were expecting a big history lesson as Charleston’s history is long and diverse, being the biggest player in the South from the colonial era to the Civil War. What we were not expecting was finding some of the coolest cocktails we’ve sipped to date. It seems that signature cocktails are popping up all over – and having partnered with our host to research the neighborhood, Husband and I decided to check out the area, cocktail style in a Spring Street Cocktail Tour.
(All stops were walking distance from our apartment. The furthest about 15 minutes by foot. Keep a lookout for the DTWB seal of wine-proval )
S T O P 1: H O M I N Y GRILL
Hominy Grill is better known for brunch (more on that next time) but that won’t stop me from checking out a place for a cocktail – and good thing! Upon checking out the drink menu I spotted these two beautiful words: John Daly. A John Daly, named after a famous golfer and (apparent cocktail lover) is a delicious summer combo of lemonade and sweet tea vodka. This isn’t a new drink but I loooove a good John Daly (hence the kiss) and it just screams southern summer cocktail.
John Daly: sweet tea vodka, lemonade
S T O P 2: F U E L
Having eaten here earlier for lunch, I knew I wanted to stop by and try their “Cucumber Cocktail.” We lucked out; not only with the drink, but we caught USA play a Copa América game too. Unfortunately, the end result of the game wasn’t as fabulous as my cocktail. USA-0, Cucumber Cocktail-1
Cucumber Cocktail: house-made cucumber vodka, simple syrup, fresh limejuice, and a splash of gin
S T O P 3: W A R E H O U S E
Our waitress at Hominy Grill told us to check this place out. Though all of the drinks on the menu sounded, of the three I tried, Employess Only was the clear winner for me. It tasted like what you’d wish a delicious perfume to taste like – not to sweet, clean, and aromatic – and the proverbial cherry on top was the hibiscus blossom which tasted like an adult fruit roll up.
Employees Only: house jalapeño tequila, pink grapefruit juice, lime, hibiscus blossom
S T O P 4: C R O O K E D C R O W N
Booze. Popsicles. Yeah, I said it. Booze popsicles! Apparently, the well known King of Pops in Charleston collaborated with Crooked Crown to bring us booze popsicles of all flavors. We met one of the bartenders of Crooked Crown waiting for the trolley and she knew exactly how to sell the joint…she told out kids about the popsicles and added the adult twist for us, “We’re very family friendly.” It worked. For the rest of the day our kids would shout out, “Popsicles,” at random. Needless to say, it kept popsicles on the brain. But I’d be lying if I said it didn’t work for me too. There are loads of places Husband and I have been told are not family friendly – meaning, leave your kids at home – so to find one both our kids and we could equally enjoy was as much a treat as my Strawberry Lemonade booze popsicle.
(The following two stops were located near Spring but on King Street, within walking distance.)
S T O P 5: C L O S E D F O R B U S I N E S S
Not knowing where to stop, we spotted the outdoor chalkboard promoting their 4, 5-ounce beer flights for $12. And since we couldn’t make a decision on where to go or what to drink we thought why not try an assortment? They weren’t all my cup of beer but the orange infused Cooper River was pretty tasty.
S T O P 6: P R O H I B I T I O N
This is a MUST GO. The vibe was Gatsby cool – dim, mysterious, and seductive – and behind the bar were 5 glass jars of house infused alcohols that added to the prohibition feel: ginger infused gin, cucumber infused vodka, jalapeño infused tequila, apple bourbon, and pineapple habanero rum. Here’s my thought: when your drinks start with your own hand-crafted, house alcohol things can only get better. With that in mind, I ordered the Ginger Lemongrass Fizz, a drink a bit out of the ordinary for myself. Not usually a fan of ginger or lemongrass, I was shocked to be a huge fan of this cocktail. And Husband’s response to his Cucumber Gimlet was even better. Not much of a drinker, he was a little nervous after ordering and double taking at the recipe of vodka with no mixer, “Yours, at least has soda,” but he swallowed his words along with his first sip, “This is going up there on my list, the ‘Holy Grail of Cocktails’, the kind of cocktail you spend your whole life looking for.” And I should mention that as long as I’ve known him, he’s only ever put one other cocktail on that list. So yeah. That good.
Ginger Lemongrass Fizz: ginger infused gin, lemongrass syrup, fresh lime, soda
Cucumber Gimlet: cucumber infused vodka, fresh lime, agave, basil
Check out the Spring Street Cocktail Cruise map below. Sip. Enjoy. Repeat.