A friend of mine was getting married, and we'd all met up in Dallas, TX to celebrate with a weekend of drinking before the big day. We arrived in Texas on a beautiful Saturday, unseasonably warm for January. After a full day of hanging out, drinking at the hotel, and making up for lost time, we made our way to dinner.
After enjoying a family-style feast at a great little place called Victor Tangos, we noticed a crowd of people lined up to go into what looked like an innocent little pub down the street. We decided to follow the masses and check it out. Fortunately, that turned out to be a great decision, because I ended up ordering one of the best drinks of my life there at The Old Monk.
The Old Monk stands right on the corner. A self-defined Irish Pub, it's really a well established neighborhood bar for a discerning young crowd. Inside, you'll find all the well known favorites of a traditionally styled tavern: rugged wooden tables, wrought iron details, a well stocked bar, and lots of guys with beards sipping carefully-chosen draught beer. The Old Monk also features an incredibly large patio, able to contain dozens of jolly drinkers all at once.
Usually, when I stop into a new pub, I order an Old Fashioned. It's sort of a litmus test for whether or not I will like a place. By my pseudo-scientific experience, if the bartender can't make an Old Fashioned, then the whole establishment is likely to be filled with phonies. I elbowed my way up to the bar, and when the bartender looked over, I ordered my drink. "What kind of whiskey?" he asked. I scanned the shelves, and noticed a bottle of something I'd been meaning to try. "Booker's," I said. The bartender walked over to a very unassuming bottle that appeared to be labeled with slap-dash, handwritten words. At this point, I lost sight of what he was doing. Some girl has stepped in front of me and was yelling at her friend across the room to come join her. Just as I was about to push my way through again, a hand appears, grasping a perfect Old Fashioned cocktail. I laid down some cash, and headed back into the crowd.
My Booker's Old Fashioned from The Old Monk is hands down the best whiskey drink I've ever had. Booker's bourbon is incredible, with plenty of sweetness and an alcohol content high enough to make you need a deep breath after the first sip. Fortunately, my bartender had added just the right amount of bitters and sugar, as well as the splash of water that so many lesser mixologists skip. The end result was a delicate balance of flavor, backed by a kick strong enough to make your mustache curl. My taste buds remember a strong woodsy flavor, too. It didn't seem too smoky, although the Booker's website mentions it. The vanilla flavors serve it well, and allows the drink to be sweeter without tasting over sugared.
The next time you are in the Dallas area, don't forget to stop by The Old Monk, and order a Booker's Old Fashioned. You won't be disappointed.