Sometimes in life it is best to slow down, mix up a perfect cocktail, and enjoy the city you live in.
Charleston Culinary & History Walking Tours offers just such a chance with their Mixology tour. A lazy afternoon strolling from one bar to the next, meeting the minds behind Charleston's signature cocktails, and hearing from them about the nuts and bolts of their drinks.
The Girl and I began our evening at Stars Rooftop, the only bar with a 360° view of the city of Charleston. The $40 a person ticket allowed us to join a small group of drink aficionados, led by our affable guide Guilds Hollowell.
Zack, Star's Master Mixologist whips us up a play on the Mint Julep featuring a heavy dose of peach. The light, bright peach flavors meld with the mint in a delightful summer drink perfect for the deck in low 90s Charleston.
Stop number two would take us to The Cocktail Club, a wonderfully dark and hip bar above sister restaurant The MacIntosh.
At The Cocktail Club, master liquor wrangler and beard enthusiast Jackson Holland treated us to the Cloak & Dagger, a much darker, slightly sweeter, and very complex drink that The Girl had to slide my way due to her rum allergy. A blend of Oronoco rum and Bulleit Rye whiskey with beet and pineapple juices, ginger simple syrup, and lemon topped with a port float. The flavors are bright and pair well with the cayenne and pork fat spiced popcorn.
Our third and final stop was the bar many of us thought would never ACTUALLY open, Republic Reign . Iron Mixologist Evan Powell took us out to the patio for what has to be the greatest summer cocktail I have ever had. The Girl and I will be making this for our next dinner party without a doubt. The Dutch 75 is a play on the classic spritz cocktail that combines muddled cucumber, Damrak Gin, Elderflower Nectar, champagne and lemon in a bright, clean and pleasing drink that (along with the cucumber garnish) can turn even the muggiest summer day into a pleasant drinking day. The other highlight of Republic Reign was meeting an Emmy Award winner and holding an Emmy!
The tour itself covered the cost of the beverages and a healthy helping of local history and color. The Culinary tours are $55 a person or $100 a couple and include food and non alcoholic beverages. The Girl and I suggest getting a group of friends together (an exclusive tour for 14 is $515) and hit the city in style. Any way you mix it, Charleston Culinary Tours is a welcome addition to the city.