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Smoked cocktails are on fire in the Columbus bar scene

Aaron Wetli

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Cocktail purists beware, this article probably isn’t for you. Keep moving. Same goes for you, “Let the Bordeaux breathe for fifteen minutes before serving” wine drinker. This piece is for the adventurous and fun-loving Central Ohio booze fans who aren’t intimidated by a few pyrotechnics.

If you are a fan of speakeasies, mixologists, and getting out of your comfort zone, you are probably familiar with “smoked” cocktails. If you are not, here is the scoop: smoke is added to drinks through a variety of methods, most noticeably an actual smoking gun. The smoke adds depth to the flavor of your cocktail, which can be a welcome addition to your drink in months when other ingredients are out of season, and it looks pretty cool. Here are some locations where you can get an awesome smoked cocktail and also a couple of places that will light them on fire.

The Kitchen | 231 E Livingston Ave.

The Kitchen is an event space and a learning experience duo. If you are looking for a place to practice your culinary skills, enroll in a participatory dining experience where you can learn how to cook some delicious eats and make an awesome cocktail.  The Kitchen’s Smoked Old Fashioned is made with brown sugar syrup, bitters, and topped off with a smoking cinnamon stick. You can do this at home and capture the smoke in an upside-down rocks glass, but you probably should see the pros do
it first.

Photo by Brian Kaiser

Denmark on High | 463 N High St.

Do you remember what an Erlenmeyer flask is? I didn’t either until I talked to Gary White, owner of Denmark on High. Basically, an Erlenmeyer flask is a beaker that you used in middle school science class for pouring and storing solutions. The difference is that at Denmark, the cocktail is concocted, transferred into the flask, topped off with a shot from the smoking gun and then transferred into the glassware in which it will be served. Demark will be celebrating its fifth anniversary in March and is rolling out a greatest hits menu. The titles of the featured smoked cocktails are: Smoke Dat Tree (bourbon based), Put That In Your Pipe (rum based), and The Danker The Berry (Rye Based). The titles are worth coming for. The cocktails are worth staying for.

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MOUTON | 954 N High St.

One of Columbus’ oldest new wave cocktail bars, Mouton has been operating in the Short North since 2011. The inside is sleek and cozy and the perfect place for a date or an after dinner drink—especially if you want to share a drink with your closest friends and set that drink on fire.

Currently, MOUTON has three Tiki Bowls that are each designed to serve three customers: The Rivah Mumma, Put The Lime In The Coconut (bonus points for the Harry Nilsson reference), and the Fernay-Nay Banay-Nay. If you are looking for something a little more subdued, you need look no further than the Johnny Apple Fashioned. Consisting of Old Forester 100 proof bourbon, gomme syrup, and cherry bitters, this cocktail is a “classic old fashioned that just happens to be served in a dome,” says General Manager Jillian Smith. This interactive experience allows the customer to determine the desired amount of smoke by choosing when to lift the glass dome away from the drink. 

Photo by Brian Kaiser

Grass Skirt Tiki Room | 105 N Grant Ave.

Classic and timeless, Grass Skirt Tiki Room has been Central Ohio’s premiere Tiki Bar experience for the better part of a decade. (When I visit, the ambiance always reminds me of the “I’m funny how?” scene from the Tiki Bar in Goodfellas.) Starting with the Toasted Coconut Hot Buttered Rum, this classic Columbus cocktail is a coconut rum-based drink for one  and contains Cruzan 151, allspice, butter and cinnamon. If you want to share a drink with a group of between two and four patrons and would like your drink either set on fire (cinnamon stick) OR smoked (dry ice and hot water), you can choose from three rum based drinks (Rum and Happiness, Bali Hai, Sneaky Tiki) or the red wine sangria-based Headhunters Sangria. If you can’t find something to get excited about at Grass Skirt, stop going so there is more room for the rest of us. 

So, there you have it: a list of some fun, funky, and delicious cocktails to bring some light into your life. Get out there and set Columbus on fire!

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Food & Drink

Tuttle Mall getting a lot sweeter thanks to 2 newcomers

614now

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Malls have changed a lot over the years. Remember Waldenbooks? Was KB Toys your go-to as a kid? Heck, even Sears will soon be nothing more than a memory.

While mall establishments are frequently lost to the sands of time, it’s rare that you see a former retailer return to a mall it’s already vacated once. Well brace yourselves, sweets fans, because a gooey, sugar-frosted favorite is making a comeback at Tuttle Mall.

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Of course we’re talking Cinnabon, which was last in operation at Tuttle some years ago, and is now listed as “coming soon” on the mall’s directory. But wait! As tempting as it will be to fill up on cinnamon rolls after this long absence, you’ll want to save room for this other coming attraction: it seems Duck Donuts is also setting up shop in Tuttle.

Hop on the treadmill and give your dentist a heads-up, mall lovers—sweets are back at Tuttle in a big way!

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Food & Drink

Dive into Guy Fieri’s picks for best BBQ in nation, including one local spot

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Columbus native and mayor of Flavortown Guy Fieri has always had a soft spot for his hometown, especially its BBQ. He’s been around the country to enjoy some of the best food America has to offer for his show Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, but it’s right here in Columbus where some of the meats are being smoked: Ray Ray’s Hog Pit.

The Food Network recently posted a list of Fieri’s top barbecue picks from DDD including James Anderson’s smokin’ hot food truck.

Guy Fieri just named us to his “Best BBQ from DDD” list. Thanks for the massive honor Guy, come back and see us anytime. http://bit.ly/DDDBestBBQ

Posted by Ray Ray's Hog Pit on Thursday, July 18, 2019

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“Chef and Owner James Anderson raises his own pigs for the succulent smoked offerings at Ray Ray’s Hog Pit, a one-of-a-kind barbecue truck in Columbus, Ohio,” reads the Food Network description. “Guy tried the super-moist Mangalitsa Brat Burger and St. Louis Spare Ribs.”

Ray Ray’s was originally featured on the “College Town Champs” episode of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives in 2017.

Click here to view Fieri’s 59 top BBQ picks.

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Food & Drink

Sips of Summer: 12 picks to quench your thirst

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When it gets hot, you gotta find a way to deal, and we at 614NOW understand and sympathize. Here are our recommendations to help you cool down when the temperatures rise.

16-Bit | Hulk Hogan
What’s more summery than lemonade? Boozy lemonade. And what’s more summery than boozy lemonade? Dropping in a frozen red, white, and blue bomb pop in the center of the drink! The iconic popsicle from your childhood is back and you’re gonna need a front row seat to your own sip down, brother!

Matt the Miller | Blueberry Basil Limoncello Martini
Skip the regular menu. Here’s a martini for brunch instead! Two of summer’s favorite flavors come together in one glass with Stoli Blueberry and Limoncello, along with basil, lemon juice and simple syrup.

The Bottle Shop | Carribean Queen
The Bottle Shop is known to whip up just about any creation you can think of, and their tiki drinks are quintessential summer vibes. Of course, the classic mai tai is available in these aesthetically pleasing tiki glasses, but our eyes are all on the Carribean queen. The drink boasts a savory over sweet flavor profile thanks to the Rum Zacapa 23 as well as the orgeat (almond syrup) which provides a slight nutty taste. The drink also features earl grey tea-infused falernum to add a floral profile, plus some mint sprigs to garnish.

Standard Hall | Red Sangria
Nothing says summer like a cool glass of sweet sangria. Standard Hall’s Red Sangria is a blend of Pinot Noir, Triple Sec, Absolut Grapefruit, lemon juice, lime juice, and marinated fruit. It comes in a single serving, but once your friends catch a glimpse, they’ll want more than a gulp, so go for the shareable size.

Hubbard Grille | Agave Cooler
Now that you’re grown, hopefully you’ve graduated from stealing your mom’s wine coolers and embarked on a new adult beverage endeavor. But, now we’re sending you back to your roots with Hubbard Grille’s Agave Cooler with A New Amsterdam Vodka, pure agave, pink grapefruit and lime juices, fresh basil; served on the rocks. Your mother would be proud.

Oddfellows | Lushie
With new options nearly every week, Oddfellows’ lushies are a sure fire way to beat the heat this summer. This frozen drink is similar to a slushie you’d find at a gas station, but it’s been upgraded with boujee flavors and booze. Options like The Carter have been featured in the past which is a mixture of Bumbu rum, creme de cacao, and lemon making for a bright orange cocktail perfect for the patio.

Asterisk | Asterisk Orchid
Take time to stop and smell the roses (or the orchids) this summer. From the Asterisk proprietary cocktail menu, a choice of vodka or gin, St. Germain, with notes of lime, rose, and cucumber. A flower in a glass!

Local Cantina | Mango Manzana Margarita
How can you go out for Mexican food without getting a marg to sip on the patio? The Mango Manzana Margarita combines Patrón Silver and Patrón Mango Citrónage with agave, lime, lemonade, and is garnished with an apple slice and a luxardo cherry. By our counts, that’s at least three servings of fruit per glass.

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Two Truths | Penicillin
This is one penicillin shot that even staunch anti-vaxxers will won’t be able to resist. With two scotches serving as a base for this ginger and fresh-lemon infused cocktail, penicillin at Two Truths is good for what ails you!

Huli Huli Tiki Lounge | The Painkiller
And if Penicillin can’t solve what ails you, a good old Painkiller should just about do the trick. This island-inspired cocktail features Sailor Jerry’s Spiced Rum with pineapple, coconut, and orange with the option to have it served on the rocks, or frozen. Beyond a drink that will take your mind straight to the beach, the bright pink flower garnish coupled with a pineapple slice and a speared cherry makes this drink every bit Instagrammable as it is drinkable.

Light of the Seven Matchsticks | Running with Scissors and Playing with Matchsticks
This signature cocktail at this exclusive speakeasy is everything your mother warned you about. One sip of this high-falutin’ mixture of brown-buttered bourbon, Dolin Dry, Benedictine, and a house ancho syrup, and you’ll see why rules were made to be broken.

The Market Italian Village | Barrel-aged Negroni
Go native while visiting Italian village with this twist on the classic drink from the boot-shaped old country. Vim and Petal Heritage Blend Gin join Cynar 70, Sherry, and Apricot in this smoky, barrel- aged cocktail—Maddon’, that’s good!

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