Since opening in 2012, Sixth Street speakeasy Midnight Cowboy has been a mainstay of Austin’s now burgeoning cocktail scene. Over the years, the original menu was constantly lauded in the press for being a boozy counterpoint to the cheap sugar bombs that have long defined the downtown nightlife corridor. So it’s big news that the bar has decided to switch things up, launching a whole new menu created by new general manager Tacy Rowland and her team.
Rowland’s name will be familiar to longtime CultureMap readers. She was awarded Best Craft Bartender in the second edition of our Tastemaker Awards for her work at Drink.well. At Midnight Cowboy, she is continuing her fine work with a drinks list that pays homage to the conviviality of the space.
Collectively titled the Art of Conversation, the 14 new cocktails — presented in a lovely illustrated booklet — capture the various connections customers make in the bar. The Icebreaker starts with Ford’s gin, adding St. Germaine, caraway, star anise and white peppercorn spiced green tea, saffron rice syrup, rice wine vinegar, and basil for a libation sure to get the evening going. Dejà Vu, served in a tiki mug, jogs the memory with Elijah Craig small batch bourbon, Rittenhouse rye, white whiskey, maraschino, fresh grapefruit and lime, cinnamon, and tiki bitters. And the Punch Line which is pisco, citron liqueur Nardini Aqua de Cedro, Carpano Bianco vermouth, pimento dram, Rhum Clement VSOP, and lime, is sure to give you the giggles. Other drink names include @$!# (The Expletive), The Awkward Pause, and Talk Dirty to Me.
For cocktail curmudgeons, the new menu will also include a selection of classics ranging from a Hotel Nacional to a Hemingway daiquiri to an old fashioned. Three boozy punches for two, four, or six guests will entertain groups. Real Talk uses mezcal, tequila blanco, coconut, pineapple, lime, and a house chipotle tepache (a fermented pineapple drink). That Party Last Night tempts fate with an improbable mix of Wild Turkey, Jager, Grand Marnier, lemon, passionfruit, and IPA. Teetotalers and designated drivers can still be in on the fun with four mocktails using intriguing ingredients like smoked mustard honey, cantaloupe shrub, and strawberry hibiscus syrup.
“I want to see people truly enthusiastic about what is in their glass,” Rowland said in a release. “Playing with new textures and combinations widens the realm of possibilities. To see interests piqued, questions asked, and excitement occur inspires me. Cocktails should be fun.”