It’s always drinking season, but when the weather turns bone chilling cold, then it’s time to grab a cup of hot cider, a hot toddy, or a steaming cup of mulled wine. Hillcrest’s beloved Ciao Baci, while a patio gem in the spring and summer, is also a cozy drinking nook in the winter and fall. Bar Manager Neil Pedrick has come up with a few twists in the new drink menu, although Baci fans will be happy to see a few favorites.
Those with a sweet tooth will want to try the aptly named “Grinch.” The drink is fun to look at, and even more fun to taste, with the lovely combination of Bailey’s Irish Cream, Franjelico Liqueur and Dark Crème De Menthe. Before you ask, the drink is green, and topped with whipped cream and sprinkles. Pedrick says, “I love the name on this one. It’s called “The Grinch” because it could ruin someone’s Christmas.”
Next up, is the French Connection, which Pedrick says is probably his favorite on the menu. Don’t be afraid of the Pernod, as the drink is balanced with Merlet’s Crème De Cassis and Black Currant Liqueur. Do yourself a favor and sit at the bar to watch the prep on this one – it’s quite a beautiful creation to watch the colors change over ice.
For those who love a good Moscow Mule, the menu boasts of The Kick A** Mule, a great pick-me-up. Much like an original mule, the twist is the addition of alcoholic Ginger Beer. This one is an easy sipper and surprisingly tangy … it’ll have you thinking of warmer climates in no time.
Everyone loves a good Hot Toddy, and Baci’s creation is a great representation of the classic. To cure a hard day or work or an oncoming sore throat, dive in. Old Parr Scotch, Honey, Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice, amidst piping hot water with cloves will be sure to warm you from head to toe.
Each winter Baci puts out a mulled wine to act as their “winter sangria” of sorts. Pedrick is especially excited about this year’s batch. He says, “I’ve added a few new ingredients to it this year. This is really a great drink because I get to work with Chef Owen on it. He makes the base for me and puts all the lovely herbs in it.” The mulling spices are everything you’ve ever needed. I dare you to order only one cup.
Last but not least is the Baci Cider, which you can order either hot or cold. This is a fun drink that includes local Rock Town Apple Pie Flavored Arkansas Lightning, Sailor Jerry’s Spiced Rum, Butterscotch Liqueur and Apple Cider.