I hadn’t planned to drink anything at Hutch & Harris, and certainly not back-to-back cocktails.
But when my friend Sam and I arrived at the downtown Winston-Salem restaurant to kick off a recent Saturday night outing, our eyes immediately gravitated to the first craft cocktail on Hutch & Harris’ drink list — the Sicario.
Maybe you speak enough Spanish to know the term, or maybe you just listened carefully enough while watching “Narcos” on Netflix, a show about Pablo Escobar and the drug war where characters regularly utter the term. But it wasn’t the name — which translates to “hitman” — that attracted us to the drink. Blame that on the description, which lists poblano añejo tequila, cucumber, lime, apricot and a bacon garnish as ingredients.
All the names on the shortlist were notable, including the relatively basic “Game of Thrones” themed cocktail The North Remembers, Orange Is the New Black with Sutler’s gin and orange-mandarin syrup added to a tangerine IPA and another named the Maltese Falcon with raspberry-lychee syrup added to orange vodka.
We turned the title of another cocktail — Nantucket Red, featuring pear vodka, elderflower liqueur, coconut rum, strawberry syrup and moscato float — into a running joke for the night, and Sam almost ordered the Yoshi’s Island just for the name even though it relies on green tea and “gluten-free vodka.”
When our friend Camilo showed up, he ordered the Sicario, too. It hardly packed the heat or strength that the name implied, but Sam and I liked the balanced and tasty drink enough that we both immediately re-upped after finishing.
We’d spent part of the ride over joking about cocktail names, actually, after Sam uttered the phrase “Mary Poppins fever dream” for some reason, and I riffed on it, suggesting it could utilize Fever Tree ginger beer. Or we could put out something called “Wrasslin’ Juice,” a sure-fire seller, we agreed.
Anyone can come up with clever names for a cocktail list, though most venues don’t put in the effort. But not just anyone can put together a nice, even-keeled drink, especially one that all of us instinctively wanted. The items at Hutch & Harris made us chuckle, which is a good sign after the restaurant’s crass, tastelessly named 9/11 memorial menu. Looks like this time they relied on a copy editor.
I kept it cool after the second Sicario; we were headed to the Whisky Box under Rec Billiards afterwards, where we ended up playing darts before college kids overran the joint. But I wanted another yellow libation and the bacon that came with it, and that’s rarely the case.
Visit Hutch & Harris at 424 W. Fourth St. (W-S) or at hutchandharris.com.
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