Hot shots

Downtown Austin hotel's spirited new bar pours out whiskey-only menu

Downtown Austin hotel's spirited new bar pours out whiskey-only menu

Bourbon Bar Austin Hilton
Bourbon Bar is mixing up the offerings at the downtown Hilton Austin. Bourbon Bar

The Hilton Austin is getting into the whiskey biz. On January 16, the downtown hotel announced the opening of Bourbon Bar, a new concept devoted to the quintessential American spirit.

According to a release, Bourbon Bar is tucked into the space between the lobby bar and Cannon + Belle's main dining room. Unlike other popular whiskey destinations like Seven Grand, it offers no beer, wine, or other spirits to round off the list.

The bar program predominantly focuses on Kentucky Bourbons from respected producers like Angel’s Envy, George T. Stagg, and Old Rip Van Winkle. The watering hole also carries rye whiskeys like Sazerac, Thomas H. Hardy, and Whistle Pigs; American Bourbons such as Hudson Bay and Hye, Texas, distillers Garrison Brothers; and cult Japanese brands Hibiki and Yamizami.

The centerpiece of the cocktail menu is a build-your-own Old Fashioned. Guests can choose a two-ounce pour from over 60 bottles, then doctor the drink with a large array of bitters ranging from deep flavors like black walnut, Aztec chocolate, and cinnamon to fruitier varieties like cherry, blood, orange, and plum.

House syrups play a big role in the rest of the menu. Guests can enjoy the waning cool weather with a hot toddy made with Wild Turkey 101, pear and honey simple syrup, fresh lemon juice, and a sprig of rosemary or a smokey take on the Manhattan with Redemption Rye, Averno amara, burnt orange black peppercorn syrup, and orange and maple bitters.

Naturally, flights will also be available. For $15, connoisseurs can sip an all-Kentucky selection or compare and contrast the Lone Star State’s emerging whiskies with other American producers in a $24 selection. Each flight includes half-pours of four brands.

Fans of the hard stuff can also attend monthly events which will highlight producers or specific drinks. The first occurs on February 15 when Ben Milam stops by for a tasting between 6-8 pm. The festivities will also include live music.

Hours are currently Tuesday through Saturday, 5-11 pm. Free parking is available in the Hilton garage with validation; valet is $5. (Better yet, use a ride-hailing service.)