By Brian Benefield [This article is part of the Second Helpings series of articles about food and eating in Cobb County]
After living in Atlanta most of my life, you’d think I would be accustomed to the hot, humid Summer days that make you sweat from places we cannot mention here. But alas, there is a way to cool down other than running your air conditioner so much that you need to repair it twice in one week. Head to one of these spots, grab a cozy bar stool, and chill out with an artfully crafted beverage that makes you feel as if your toes are in the sand or the ocean or the pool. Ahhhhh.
House of Lu is known for their family recipes of delicious Chinese and Vietnamese cuisine, but did you know they also have a vast selection of craft cocktails? They offer the classics such as a Cosmopolitan and a Martini, but also have Mango and Lemon Drop Martinis for a twist. Try something fun and different, like a Don’t Hanoi Me Iced Tea made with Bacardi Dragon Berry Rum or a Ming Dynasty made with Absolut vodka, Blue Curacao, Soho Lychee Liqueur, and Cream De Violette.
Feeling a bit on the wild side, try one of their shooters, such as the Dragon Slayer prepared with Bacardi Coconut and Dragon Berry Rum, or a Fortune Cookie made with Byejoe Red, Bailey’s, & Disaronno Amaretto. If you are lucky, Johnny Tam, one of the owners, will be making your drinks, and be sure and tell him we said hi. He is a character who will regale you with hilarious jokes or an amusing anecdote about when local celebrity chef Alton Brown taught him how to make a proper cocktail. So belly up to the circular bar and admire the beautiful murals in the restaurant, relax and enjoy a cocktail or two. https://www.houseoflu.com/
Two Birds Taphouse has delicious wood-fired pizzas, seasonally inspired small plates, and 32 taps of (mostly) local craft beer. However, they also have a selection of craft cocktails made with locally curated ingredients and fresh herbs to tempt your taste buds at the end of a long workday. How can you not try a drink named Honey I Drunk the Kids made with Cathead honeysuckle vodka, lemon, cucumber, mint & agave, or for a more tropical flavor, try the Hollaback Girl made with JM rhum agricole, banana cordial, tiki bitters, vanilla, pineapple & lime. Doesn’t that sound refreshing? Two Birds also offers housemade shrubs you can get to go and make your fancy drinks at home, such as Blackberry mint and smoked pineapple, and these can be ordered online along with their food items. https://www.twobirdstaphouse.com/
Silla Del Toro has become a hot spot on Marietta Square in a short time and is known for its Spanish-influenced tapas plates. The ambiance here has a date night vibe with exposed brick and wood wall accents. We like to stop in for an artisanal cocktail, and here are a few of our favs from their creative drink menu. If you’re a fan of Gin, you can build your beverage, including your brand of the spirit, tonic, and type of fresh garnish. Try the whimsically named Flamenco Tune made with Vodka, manzanilla sherry, lime, black cherry, ginger & bubbles. The bartenders at Silla are knowledgeable about their drinks and can guide you in the right direction.
What is more thirst-quenching on a hot Summer evening than a cold glass of Sangria? You can get the traditional white or red version prepared with fresh fruit or try the Pink version made with Rose wine, cognac, lemon, strawberry & rhubarb. Can’t decide, then try a flight of all three. . Check out their food and drink menu at http://www.silladeltoro.com/.
Marietta Square restaurants have some very creative bartenders that will prepare an elixir that “will cure what ails you,” according to my wife, Cecilie. I am a beer guy myself, and the hoppier, the better. But, I will occasionally indulge in a classic dirty martini with as many olives that can be jammed onto a toothpick. And I will have my pinky finger out. Yes. I. Will.