Jessica Sanders, co-owner of Drink.Well, knows how and where to drink. She recently took a break from her next venture, Backbeat, to show Eater around Austin on a boozy tour of her favorite drinking establishments on a Sunday night.
Time: 8:30 p.m.
Drinks: Two daiquiris, one with Rhum Damoiseau and the other with Plantation Pineapple Rum
The daiquiri was the first cocktail that Sanders fell in love with in New York. Her drinking experiences before then were limited to San Diego’s beach bars. She loves the simple three-ingredient recipe, and the way different brands of rum affect the taste of the cocktail. "Each one of them does something completely different," she said.
Simple three-ingredient recipeThe first real cocktail she ever had was Death & Co’s The Little Birdie, a strawberry and pineapple pisco drink. The hospitality at the bar made her feel comfortable as someone who didn’t know anything about drinking. She realized later that the drink was specifically "designed for a 24-year-old girl like me who doesn’t know anything about cocktails," Sanders said, and she tries to make sure Drink.Well has a similar approachable drink.
Other notes: Sanders chatted with bar manager Trey Jenkins about La Dolce Vita and his home bar.
Time: 10:40 p.m.
Drinks: One gin martini with Sipsmith VJOP, and shot of Mezcal Vago Tobalá en Barro as part of the bar’s Bobby Heugel Memorial Break-Even Bottle Night
Sanders calls martinis her "guilty pleasure cocktail," because of its stuffy reputation. It’s another simple cocktail that is easy to ruin. She prefers her martinis wet with a lot of vermouth, which "can be a really beautiful thing."
Vermouth can be a really beautiful thingHer favorite thing about going to other bars is seeing what liquors everyone carries. The Townsend has a great gin selection for her. She gets excited over "geeky bottles" and really appreciates the break-even program, which lets people try rare and obscure booze.
Other notes: Vox Table bar manager Travis Tober was at The Townsend as well, and got Sanders a shot of the break-even bottle of the evening
Time: 1 a.m.
Drinks: Pint of beer.
Why: After work, all Sanders usually wants is beer. Her favorites are Austin Beerworks and Hops & Grain. While she usually drinks at home, she looks "for spaces where I feel comfortable enough to unwind and let my guard down," like King Bee. "They just make you feel like you don’t need to be on."
Better palate, better cocktails She’s also a big fan of wine, and enjoys seeking out great wine programs. She likes Winebelly for its relaxing atmosphere and Arro because it tends to have rare armagnacs and cognacs off-menu. "I don’t think we talk about wine enough as a bar community," which she explained is probably because "there’s no theatrics with wine service." She believes the more wine someone drinks, "the stronger your palate becomes, and the better palate you have, the better cocktails you can make."