While the COVID-19 pandemic affected many aspects of our life, the hospitality industry in particular was hard hit. As restaurants and bars were prohibited from having dine-in or on premises customers, there was a great deal of scrambling to find what to do in the interim. While many restaurants transitioned to doing take out and delivery, that left questions of beverage service open.
Here in Arkansas, alcohol delivery had never been on the table before. Alcohol Beverage Control allowed some unprecedented options when dining in restaurants was curtailed – liquor stores could deliver anything they sold so long as it was by one of their employees; restaurants could sell for take out and delivery beer and wine in their original sealed containers. However, cocktails were not part of the mandate. Without “Go Cups”, the local bartenders did still manage to offer part of their own special flavors to home patrons by selling everything but the alcohol in to-go combinations. These five are some of the best and most popular options in the pandemic that are still available!
La Terraza Mojitos
Here is the first important news – the To-Go Mojito pitchers will be sticking around as a permanent fixture from Graffittis! When the summer hits here in Arkansas, a refreshing and tart drink like a mojito hits the spot and La Terraza has a great pitcher to go. There are four that are currently available in the to-go format, but if you add a note in the online ordering, they may be able to accommodate some of the other options on the menu!
The best part about these is that they are prepared by hand to go – the sugar, lime, and mint are being freshly combined and packaged into the containers for each order. It makes a huge difference for a drink like a mojito. Each pitcher carries a recommendation to combine it in a large pitcher with at least 10 ounces of rum.
Raduno Italian Galgo
Named as a greyhound riff, the Italian Galgo was an easy choice for Raduno to offer as a to-go cocktail. Heavy on the citrus juice, the Galgo relies on tequila in a little bit of a surprise compared to its name and is capped off with lemon and a rosemary sprig. When looking at the menu, the new bar manager, Marcus, took the time to tweak and perfect the existing recipes first but the Italian Galgo required no such adjustments.
An easy to shake combination at home, the Italian Galgo is a great option as the combination of citrus and tequila is a surefire hit. The smell of the smoldering rosemary is the perfect earthy counterpoint to the sharp Galgo and if you happen to have a blowtorch at home, you really should consider (safely) using it here!
Brood & Barley Dave’s Old Fashioned
Brood & Barley is the poster child of adaptability. Originally, Brood & Barley was slated to open in March … just as the order to shut in-person dining and bar operations ended up coming down. In the absence of having a proper launch for the Flyway gastropub, one of the immediate ideas was to sell the old fashioned mix from David Burnette. A long time bar fixture in the city, David’s Old Fashioned’s have been the definitive old fashioned’s in Little Rock for the last decade. While Brood & Barley has managed to get their opening, check RCE’s First Look here, the to go Old Fashioned mix is something that anyone can appreciate to make the simplicity of the old fashioned even more straightforward.
This mix includes not only a proprietary blend of bitters but also an orange peel infused syrup so you don’t even need to add an orange peel at home for the full flavor effect. A very simple half an ounce of the Old Fashioned mix to 2 ounces of Bourbon with a little stir will give you a fantastic cocktail at home. David’s preference is the Old Granddad Bottled in Bond bourbon, but any 100 proof would suit you well, as would a good rye like Rittenhouse; truth be told, if you enjoy it when you make it that is the right whiskey to use.
Petit & Keet Peachy Keet
The most complicated of the to go cocktails available, but just because you need to blend and refreeze this frozen concoction, the Peachy Keet is still being made to-go at Petit & Keet. This is a drink that could easily be enjoyed at the Petit & Keet patio, with a frozen and sweet beverage resting in a koozie with Jim Keet’s smiling visage.
A signature sweet and refreshing frozen drink, the Peachy Keet to go comes with a container of maraschino cherries as well as the secret mix to combine at home. Add vodka, blend with ice, and refreeze to enjoy this perfect summer cool down treat at home. I suspect that it would do well with peach vodka at home to double down on your peach flavor and really transport you out of your own house.
Local Lime House Margarita
Local Lime has been a go-to destination for Margaritas since it opened. This Yellow Rocket CaliMex focused restaurant has been known for their Margaritas since day one, sometimes overshadowing the food. While not quite the same as being there, a quart container of Margarita mix is a great way to experience Local Lime style margaritas at home, or if you are feeling more adventurous the Texas Two-Step with it’s basil-jalapeno base and recommended use of a mescal. The classic margarita takes one more ingredient to complete as not only tequila but also a triple sec or curacao is needed. Once those two parts are added, though, all you have to do is shake to your heart’s content and pour into an optionally salt rimmed glass.
What other to-go cocktails have you found? What restaurants or bars have helped you find a little piece of their hospitality at home? Let us know in the comments!