Off the Record Pays Homage To Local Bands With Its New Summer Cocktail Menu.
From the jump, Off the Record has been a place where music and cocktails have blended more seamlessly than just about anywhere else in town.
That much kind of comes with the territory of being attached to a 400-plus capacity music venue and being one of the few spots in the country to combine record store and bar concepts.
And, since opening back in August, the Off the Record team has remained faithful to that design, too, hosting frequent vinyl DJ sets, music-centric lectures, panel discussions with members of the local music media and monthly speed dating sessions that use mutually adored LPs as icebreaking tools.
Just last night, meanwhile, the bar continued the trend with the unveiling of its new summer cocktails menu, which features drinks named in honor of several prominent local bands.
Among the new options? Whiskey-based drinks named after Dallas' Party Static, The Roomsounds and Sealion, tequila concoctions named after Fort Worth's War Party and the Jordan Richardson-led WizardVizion Records crew, vodka cocktails named after post-punk outfit Bummer Vacation and Sarah Jaffe, and gin and rum drinks named after Oil Boom and lead Club Dada sound engineer Chris Carmichael, respectively.
“I just thought it would be kind of cool to give recognition to [these bands],” says bartender Allison Contreras, who is responsible for coming up with the new menu. “These people that I named them after always come in and spend money or perform at Dada. They're just part of our close-knit little family that we have. I thought it would be cool to recognize them.”
In some cases, Contreras chose the drinks' names based on the personalities and ordering habits of the members of their namesake bands. Other times, it was just plays on the groups' names.
“Bummer Vacation is like a summer beer,” she says. “It just sounded perfect, y'know? Sealion, they always want something cheaper on the alcohol scale [when they come in]. Some of them just kind of fell into place. Like, for Oil Boom, I infused Nolet's gin with plums and basil. Plums are dark, oil is dark — I dunno, just silly stuff like that. Carmichael loves ginger beer, and I love Carmichael. He's a legend, so I wanted to give him some credit, too. Plus, he's worked for Dada forever. He just does a great job being Carmichael.”
Another of the menu's more interesting drinks is the War Party, a tequila-based cocktail that uses Solerno blood orange liqueur and Serrano peppers.
“It's really awesome,” Contreras says. “We muddle a Serrano pepper in there, so it's kind of spicy. The agave and Solerno add a sweetness to it. We add some habanero bitters on top of it. It's spicy, but it's not crazy spicy, and it has a little bit of sweetness behind it, too.”
The rest of Off the Record's new summer cocktail menu is less music-centric, featuring old favorites including a Moscow Mule, an Old Fashioned and a Manhattan. Contreras says her version of these drinks is pretty standard, while noting that she likes to get creative with the garnishes and bitters she uses.
“I don't know a whole lot of places that do candied ginger in their Moscow Mules,” she notes.
Still, we expect that the local band cocktails wil be the real stars of the show on the menu, which Contreras says will be available starting today and will stick around for about three months or “until the weather starts to get a little cooler.” Then, she says, they'll update the menu once again — maybe honoring a whole new batch of local talent in the process. The hope, she says, is that the idea is more than temporary gimmick.
“The whole idea of naming the drinks after bands is that it gets the name stuck in their head — especially if they like a certain drink and order it a lot,” she says. “Maybe they'll even start listening to that band — or they might get a chance to meet them. Deep Ellum is getting bigger, and new customers come in every day.”
Lemon and Peach
Texas peach whiskey
Soda + bitters
Maker's Mark whiskey
Blueberries and Orange
Death's Door white whiskey
Soda + orange bitters
Basil and Lemon
Infused Nolet's gin
Soda + plum bitters
Basil and Serrano
Don Julio tequila
Solerno blood orange liqueur
Soda + agave
Mint and Watermelon
Sotol Platinum tequila
Ginger and Lime
Myer's Dark rum
Blueberries and Summer Beer
Stoli Blueberi vodka
Lemon and Orange
Ketel One vodka
St. Germain elderflower liqueur
Creme de Violette, violet flower liqueur