Filed under: bar, cocktail, eco-friendly, top-feature
Sugarcane Eco-Friendly Cocktails
Last week I attended the Grand Opening at Sugarcane, a¬†new bar in Houston located at 1919 Washington Ave. (map).¬† Sugarcane’s hook is “ECOcktails” – they serve organic liquors, grow produce on-site, and squeeze their own fresh juices for mixed drinks.¬† According to their website they also plan on composting, using biodegradable products, and sourcing liquor and other ingredients locally through the Go-Texan local food movement.¬† As a former bartender, and current lover of spirits, I have long subscribed to the theory that the artificial sugars and flavors (high-fructose corn syrup, and artificial dyes and flavoring) in traditional drink mixers like sodas and fruit juices¬†contribute to the next day’s hangover.¬† I stopped drinking mixed drinks with soda or juice years ago, aside from the occasional dash of cranberry juice in a vodka & club soda, and I turned to scotch and vodka martinis as an alternative.¬† I was anxious to check out the promises of this new, eco-chic bar, whose website also claimed “fewer hangovers” as a happy side-effect of their sustainable approach.
When we arrived at 6:30 PM the opening was in full swing.¬† Luckily we were meeting friends who had scored four seats at a table next to the bar, because by the time we showed up the crowd was elbow-to-elbow, and it only got more crowded as the happy hour crowd grew.¬† In spite of bringing¬†our camera we didn’t – we couldn’t! – take one picture, the bar was so¬†full of people.¬† It really didn’t matter, since we were having such a great time chatting with our friends and¬†meeting new folks; everyone was having an amazing time tasting new drinks, reviewing the menus on the table, and enjoying the music that was pulsing through the air.¬† Sugarcane had even provided a “martini and manicure” table where guys and gals alike were being pampered with mini-manis while enjoying their ECOcktails – a nice touch.
The space is cool and laid back, but not austere or cold.¬† The walls are painted in mellow colors of¬†sand and green, and exposed plumbing is painted in darker tones to provide a nice contrast.¬† Eclectic artwork hangs on the wall – my favorite was a painting of a girl who appeared to be texting on her cell phone, the image reflected many times over, as if in broken glass.¬† A crowded grand opening party is not really the place to get a “vibe” for what a bar is going to be like on a day-to-day basis, but I can say that they had plenty of bartenders on duty, free tastings of Acai Vodka (yum!), and a¬†staff of bussers who continuously cleared empty glasses and beer cans from tables.
The drink menu was a good mix of classic and¬†signature cocktails; I started with a dirty martini, my husband with a mojito.¬† The dirty martini, in spite of being a simple drink (vodka, olive juice) is surprisingly easy to mess up, with too much or too little olive juice ruining the whole thing; mine was perfectly salty with a two-olive garnish – good quality olives, too.¬† My husband’s mojito was nice and fresh, minty but without being overpowering.¬† I was the one who ordered the first round and I took special care to note the process, and was pleased to see the bartenders using wooden (not metal or plastic) muddlers to crush the mint; I am a traditionalist.¬† After our first drink, the boys switched to beer but I departed from my usual “no juice” rule to try a drink called the “Sixth Ward”: Blueberries muddled with thyme, mixed with organic vodka, over ice.¬† It was definitely yummy and I finished the whole thing, rare for me since I don’t have much of a sweet tooth when it comes to cocktails.
With drinks ranging from about $6-$13, Sugarcane is catering to a more professional, upscale crowd, but both the neighborhood and the atmosphere are welcoming, without pretension, and accessible to anyone who appreciates a fine mixed drink.¬† I am looking forward to my next visit, when I can do some brain-picking amongst the bartenders on methods and practices!
(PS – No hangover!)
What: Sugarcane Bar
Where: 1919 Washington Ave.
Hours: Monday-Saturday 4 PM – 2 AM; Closed on Sunday.
Specials: Happy Hour specials include $2¬† off cocktails, $1 off beer, and $5 glasses of wine between 4 PM and 7 PM on weekdays.
Parking: On-street parking available, as well as free lot parking.
Photo 1 courtesy of Sugarcane, Photo 2 SXC
A1919 Washington Ave1919 Washington Ave, Houston, TX 77007View Details and Book