craft cocktails take the stage

I recently got to preview "Harvey," the latest play to show at the ZACH Theatre, and the first one I'd seen in the amazing, state-of-the-art Topfer Theatre!  But first, my friend Jessica and I first caught Uchi's sake social hour (above), one of the best deals in town if you can manage to stick just to the happy hour menu (that's the trick!)  We did just that and managed to get out of there on the cheap!

Over the heavenly creations they turn out at Uchi, Jessica (who bartends at ZACH) told me about their new cocktail program, led by food & beverage director Rick Ryan, a Boston transplant who uses his culinary school background to craft super-creative, well-balanced drinks to match each show.  The carrotini you see below (Tito's, carrot juice, cream, honey, ginger liquor) was debuted for the opening of "Harvey," a play about a man (played by Martin Burke) whose best friend is a 6-foot-tall white rabbit no one else can see..

celtic sour: Jameson, honey simple syrup, fresh lemon, ginger beer

But I'm getting ahead of myself!  The carrotini was the liquid dessert we enjoyed at the end of the show in the beautiful Sky Lounge, where a balcony looks out across Town Lake to the Austin skyline, and actors will mingle with guests after the show.  Beforehand, however, our drinks were served in these convenient sippy cups, for our simultaneous viewing/sipping pleasure!  

Jessica also introduced me to a gin I love!  This is major news for me, as I generally shy away from gin unless it's in an incredibly well-made cocktail that disguises its very existence.  I've slowly began to realize it's the very juniper-heavy gin I don't like.. but didn't realize there was actually one out there that I love!  The name of this magical, botanical blend?  Farmer's Organic Gin.  My new favorite drink?  Farmer's and press!  (another bartender trick I was unaware of: "press" means half Sprite or 7up and half soda!)  It tasted more like St. Germain than gin, really...and the splash of sprite brought out citrus notes too-- perhaps lemongrass?

Oh and the show!  In case you were wondering, it was excellent!  The theatre itself is most impressive, and there literally isn't a bad seat in the house.  The first time the set began to slowly rotate and transform into a new one, I gasped excitedly.  This place is the real deal.  Finally, Austin has a theatre to properly showcase its talent!

Martin Burke was, once again, perfectly cast-- this time as Elwood P. Dowd, the endearing optimist with cottontail delusions.  Also amazing was Lauren Lane, the actress who played his prim and appalled sister.  I'd never actually seen the Jimmy Stewart movie before attending the play, but that is next on the agenda!

a huggy Harvey sculpture outside the Topfer Theatre