I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Rocco Milano is a genius. And not the evil kind, either. The kind that can take liquor you only think you don’t care for and turn it into something amazing that you’ll order again and again. But don’t get too stuck on one cocktail, because just when you think you have a favorite, Rocco goes all seasonal up in there and shakes everything up. Last night, as a cool front came through Dallas, some lucky folks were invited to sample some of Rocco’s new twists on standards with seasonality in mind. And yes, this bitch got a bit tipsy. Luckily, there were bites from Chef Tiffany Derry’s updated menu to match, so nobody starved. Let’s talk cocktails!
This was the Pear Collins, made with roasted pear-infused Tito’s vodka, lemon juice, house-made hops, hibiscus-cherry bitters and club soda. I love the roasted pear flavor that can make even a chilled drink feel like fall.
The Ambrosia (pictured is the full-size version, not my sippy cup shot glass portion), features Liquor 43, a savory apple cider reduction with blackberries, raspberries and blueberries and “Fever Tree” bitter lemon. It was sweet but just enough to fall in love with, just a little.
This here was one of them 100% spirit cocktails. Served in a glass with an ice ball when you order up the full-sized version, the Italian Old Fashioned seen here is a whisky drink indeed, with Jim Beam, orange and lemon zests, sweet vermouth and dehydrated Campari. It’s a sipper!
I’m a big fan of the coupe glass, and a huge fan of this drink. The Fig Side-Car features fig-infused Cointreau Noir and lemon juice. I simply love figs, and this slightly sweet cocktail was just perfection.
Le Noir. Don’t you just want to order that? I’m good with a Luxardo maraschino cherry just about any time, but sans-whisky and with a citrus kick wins. Grey Goose Cherry Noir, lemon and orange juices, house-made pomegranate grenadine and blueberries topped with champagne? STOP IT.
Hey there, you pretty little Luxardo. Come here!
Also on the newly seasonal menu are a couple of beer cocktails that Rocco put together (as a non-beer-enthusiast, mind you). They taste pretty great, even to this non-beer-enthusiast. This one was Fall Into A Glass with Damrak Gin, Hum Botanical Spirit, lemon juice and Franconia Hefeweizen. The Hum Botanical Spirit was a particularly interesting bugger, as it contained a ton of different scents and flavors like kefir lime that made the drink just that much more complex.
You know how Rocco’s bar has had a Tito’s Moscow Mule on tap for quite a while? Well now he’s pulled a switcheroo on us all. This baby is the Gin-Ger Mule, which features Citadelle Gin instead of Tito’s, plus lime and ginger beer. It’s a twist on the usual and you can really taste the difference.
As Rocco said when discussing his Polish 57 (a spin on the classic French 75), “Cocktail drinkers think that scotch tastes like iodine, and scotch drinkers think that cocktails are all strawberry daiquiris.” His aim is to correct them both. And I’m betting he’s succeeding, drink by drink.
You can try one (or all) of Rocco Milano’s seasonal creations at Private Social. They’re all $10. And while you’re there, check out some of the new menu additions as well.
Private Social | 3232 McKinney Avenue | privatesocial.com
NOTE: The cocktails and bites we all sampled last night were free, free, free. I didn’t pay for anything but to tip my kind valet. Just so you know.