where to drink
From new cocktail menus to limited edition spirit releases, Austin is buzzing with fun bars, breweries, and distilleries. It can be hard to keep up with what's going on in Austin's bar scene, so we've rounded up the most refreshing releases, events, and news to help Austinites find their next favorite hangout spot or hidden gem cocktail.
ICYMI: The CultureMap Tastemaker Awards are coming up in April, and we've got a first look at the 10 best local breweries that were nominated this year, including Hill Country favorites Family Business Beer Co. and Jester King Brewery. Plan a few visits to sample their brews firsthand before heading to Distribution Hall on April 11 to find out who takes home the coveted trophy at our signature tasting event and ceremony.
Downtown Austin underground loungeDevil May Care has launched its new clarified cocktail menu with 11 crystal clear beverages for guests to enjoy. The new menu is divided into a classics section ("The Devil You Know") and a new offerings section ("The Devil You Don't"). It also features one mocktail, the zero-proof clarified pineapple Garibalidi. Stick to the classics with the Hellfire (LALO Tequila, dry curacao, fresno chili, blood orange, lime, agave), or branch out for something new like the Naked Infamous (Rosaluna Mezcal, yellow Chartreuse, Aperol, lime).
Another 2024 Tastemaker nominee, St. Elmo Brewing, will debut a double barrel-aged imperial stout and a frozen mole espresso martini during a Winter Walkout event on Saturday, February 24 from 12-5 pm. The brewery has also brought back fan-favorite brew Vaya - Coffee Cream Ale in collaboration with Spokesman Coffee. The 6.1 percent ABV beer is bright-tasting, caffeinated, and has a smooth mouthfeel that will have enthusiasts feeling like they're enjoying a delicious coffee.
For the bourbon lovers, a new Texas-made bourbon on the market is paying homage to the Father of the Texas Panhandle. California-based winery Foley Family Wines, whose founder is a Texas native and relative of the famed cattle driver Charles Goodnight, has reintroduced the truly Texas-distilled and six-year-aged Charles Goodnight Bourbon at a higher proof (115 proof versus its original 100 proof) and bolder flavor. With tasting notes of apricots, peaches, caramel, brown sugar, and honey, this bourbon can be enjoyed neat or alongside a delicious steak dinner, like Charles Goodnight himself would have. Charles Goodnight Bourbon retails for $79.99.
Hill Country sotol makerDesert Door has launched its first 2024 Explorer Series sotol, Shaconage, a fresh take on the distillery's oak-aged variety. The newer spirit was aged for 12 months in barrels that were previously used to age Spanish sherry and Virginia single malt whisky. The results are a "toasty" sotol with notes of peppercorn, honey, caramel, almond, and cherry. Desert Door's Shaconage sotol will be available for purchase in bottles and in new cocktails for a limited time.
Oaxacan-Japanese-inspired speakeasyTrona is teaming up with the highly acclaimed Los Magos Sotol to host a master class experience on Monday, February 26. Attendees will learn about Los Magos' sustainability efforts, while taking a deep dive into the brand's triple-distilled sotol. Guests will be treated to a cocktail and tastings, and get to meet Los Magos cofounder Juan Pablo Carvajal. Limited reservations are available for standing room tickets ($25), four-person booths ($140), and six-person booths ($210). Reserve via Eventbrite.
It's nearly time to say happy birthday to a special East Austin dive bar. Mama Dearest is celebrating its one-year anniversary with a big Bayou Voodoo Party on Thursday, February 29. From 5 pm to midnight, patrons can get their palms read, get a tarot reading, or nab a Mama Dearest flash tattoo while enjoying live zydeco music and indulging in a classic seafood boil.