At Bar Charles, This New-School Italian Take On A Classic Old Fashioned Cocktail Sublty Captures Everything The Swanky Cocktail Lounge Is.
Welcome to The Cocktease, where we aim to weekly present you a tasteful preview and review of a cocktail in DFW that deserves your attention, mouth and monetary support. For a good time, here’s something that might fit your personal tastes, because when I sip, you sip, we sip.
Name: Italian Old Fashioned.
Where to get it: Bar Charles. (1632 Market Center Blvd., Design District)
When to order: When you’re looking to be the opposite of “extra.”
Ingredients: Heaven’s Door Whiskey, Cynar and an expressed orange peel.
Pairs well with: A hot date in snakeskin boots.
A little more to sip on: Just like anything with a modern Italian touch, Bar Charles is sexy, charming and entertaining.
Look for the little red light behind The Charles and step inside the chic champagne and cocktail lounge. In the middle of the room, under the glowing purple neon light that surrounds a digitized 16th-century Italian fresco-style painting, you’re guaranteed to find some idiosyncratic characters.
Yes, there are the young hedge fund managers mixing business, pleasure and other things we won’t dare mention, yet among them are visual artists, stylists, hairdressers and French men donning expensive custom capes floating around the same fabulously decorated space.
And yet, with all these creative subcultural anomalies under one roof, the atmosphere remains sensuous.
What do you expect? It’s the Design District: the one neighborhood in town that is the lothario-turned-art-dealer’s wet dream. It’s a place where sexiness, visual maximalism, and Dallas’ idea of art — which too often just means expensive — all meet in the middle. If you want to film a reality show, your best bet is to do it here.
Now, because of all the extra-ness we just described, when we stepped into Bar Charles, we went with a cocktail that chased it with a bit of minimalism, yet still embodied the overall idea of the lounge. With only two ingredients (or four if you count the ice cube and orange peel), the Italian Old Fashioned is minimal, efficient and seductive.
Heaven’s Door is already a solid sipping whiskey on its own, but the notes make it a superb whiskey to mix cocktails. The cinnamon, vanilla and butterscotch notes give it just the right amount of sweetness that compliments the Cynar — the herby Italian artichoke-based liqueur serving as a substitute for bitters.
It’s a simple sipper that makes watching the maximal hedonism in the room seem all the more entertaining. Don’t get it twisted, that $16 price tag will remind you that “maximalism” is still filling the room.
If you find yourself sipping too many of these, you may end up needing to use the washroom. No worries! Just follow the modest hallway covered in wallpaper adorned with blue-painted breast and buttocks imprints. Cheers.