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Nov 25, 2015
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Extra Sauce: Top 5 Cocktails of 2014

Saturday, December 27th, 2014
Matt Berkley works some odd hours as Sauce’s Nightlife critic, spending many a late night sipping crafted cocktails around St. Louis on a hunt for the very best. Here, Berkley names his top five cocktails of the 2014:




No. 5:  Sandanista Shot at Sandrina’s
The recipe for the Sandanista Shot reads like it came from a fraternity cookbook. One shot of Jose Cuervo is shaken with lime juice, Worcestershire sauce, Sriracha and white pepper for this sinus clearing, adrenaline-shooting monster.




No. 4: Tennessee Rose at Salt + Smoke
A whiskey lover’s dream, this smooth-sipping, rye-based, barrel-aged cocktail warms you from the inside out. This revelation of a drink mixes a robust Dickel Rye Whiskey with sweet ginger liquor, Peychaud’s bitters and a dash of St. Germain.





No. 3: Bloody Ghost at Gamlin Whiskey House
Pepper-infused Jacobs Ghost white whiskey adds bite to this spicy masterwork. My exact description from February: “a tall, white-whiskey infused bloody mary that smacks every other bloody I’ve sample hard across the jaw.”





No. 2: Kentucky Mule at The Whiskey Ring
Whether it’s the dead of winter or a scorching summer day, the Whiskey Ring’s classic Kentucky Mule is a refreshing companion. Ginger beer, a heavy dose of bourbon and a splash of lime come together in a mighty copper mug for this treat.


And the No. 1 drink of 2014 is…




Planter’s House Punch at Planter’s House
The rum and cognac in this icy punch give it a sweet boozy kick, while the lime, lemon, grenadine, bitters and dry curacao blend in to a citrusy, complex finish. The only thing that could make you love this easy sipping drink more is the fact that it’s available to order by the bottle.


-Sandrina’s, Salt + Smoke and Whiskey Ring photos by Michelle Volansky; Gamlin Whiskey House and Planter’s House photos Jonathan Gayman


The List: The Rattlesnake King at The Fortune Teller Bar

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

Welcome to The List, our annual homage to the people, places, dishes and drinks we love in St. Louis. Don’t miss a single pick; click here to read the whole List and share your thoughts on Twitter with #thesaucelist.



With a name like The Rattlesnake King, you expect a serious bite. But the only thing dangerous about this citrusy, well-proportioned cocktail is its drinkability. Flavors of orange and apple mingle with smooth W.L. Weller Special Reserve 7-year-old bourbon in this easy-sipping antidote to a long workweek.

The Rattlesnake King
Courtesy of The Fortune Teller Bar’s Kristin Dennis
1 serving

1 oz. W.L. Weller Special Reserve 7-year-old bourbon
¾ oz. Calvados apple brandy
½ oz. Cardamaro amaro
¼ oz. freshly squeezed orange juice
4 to 5 dashes Angostura bitters
Orange peel

• Add all the ingredients except the orange peel to a cocktail shaker. Fill the shaker with ice and shake 3 times.
• Strain into a chilled Old-Fashioned glass. Garnish with the orange peel.

2635 Cherokee St., St. Louis, 314.776.2337, thefortunetellerbar.com

Matt Berkley’s Top 5 Cocktails of 2013

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

Matt Berkley works some odd hours as Sauce’s Nightlife critic. In 2013, he spent many a late night] sipping crafted cocktails around St Louis on a hunt for the very best. Here, Berkley names his top five cocktails of the year: 


No. 5: Smoke and Fire from Mission Taco Joint
Hellfire bitters set off hints of peach and serrano syrup in this refreshing, mezcal-laden masterpiece.



No. 4: The Rattlesnake King at The Fortune Teller Bar
Smooth-drinking W.L. Weller Special Reserve 7-year-old bourbon is reinforced with a hit of apple brandy and fresh orange.

No. 3: House Manhattan at Gamlin Whiskey House
Robust oak and sweet vanilla flavors mingle in the Knob Creek Single Barrel whiskey that was handpicked for this standout take on a classic Manhattan.



No. 2: Pimm’s Cup at Bar Les Frères
This easy sipping, warm-weather drink is fashioned with fresh cucumber and sprigs of mint.


And my No. 1 cocktail of 2013 is…



Beetnik Margarita at Atomic Cowboy
Fresh beet juice substitutes for lime juice in this potent little drink. My exact words in September: “Though I’m indifferent to beets, beet juice and actual beatniks, I love this drink. It’s a savory-sweet monster of a cocktail with a surprisingly tangy kick and a healthy wallop of tequila.”

And an honorable mention goes to moonshine cocktails from Hendricks BBQ. Subtle and smooth at first, these white whiskeys cocktails serve delightful a knockout punch of rich flavor.

-Bar Les Frères and Atomic Cowboy photos by Jonathan Gayman



In This Issue: Nightlife – Hiro Asian Kitchen

Thursday, October 10th, 2013



In a time when simplicity, local sourcing and a “less is more” philosophy hold sway over so many bar owners and restaurateurs, it’s hard not to grin at a new establishment bucking all trends and, if anything, erring on the side of ostentation. Inside its chic little address in the nexus of Washington Avenue, the former Smash Bar and Sugar Lounge space has been reborn as Hiro Asian Kitchen. Part Pan-Asian eatery and part after-hours cocktail lounge, this ambitious newcomer is a bastion of excess.

Imagine if Benihana and P.F. Chang’s tied the knot and decorated their new downtown loft. That’s a close approximation to the look of Hiro – tastefully flashy. You can tell the owners threw some serious coin into this futuristic Asian-fusion redesign, which maintains a lively atmosphere throughout the night.

To read what our reviewer thought of this downtown hotspot, click here.

-photo by Jonathan Gayman



In This Issue: Nightlife – Atomic Cowboy

Thursday, September 19th, 2013


It’s 9:15 p.m. on a Friday, and Atomic Cowboy’s juicer is on the fritz. It’s busted. Inoperable. Man down.

The bartender shrugs. I sulk.

Under normal circumstances, I could care less about the functionality of a kitchen appliance; however, tonight its out-of-order-ness means that I can’t get one of the bar’s signature beet juice or Beetnik margaritas, which, though it may sound froufrou as all hell, has become a personal obsession.

Though I’m indifferent to beets, beet juice and actual beatniks, I love this drink. It’s a savory-sweet monster of a cocktail with a surprisingly tangy kick and a healthy wallop of tequila. It blissfully blurs all thoughts of spreadsheets and TPS reports. It makes my cheeks red. I want one again. Now, even.

As sad as the juicer fiasco is, I’m not surprised. This is the second time Atomic has deprived me of one of my favorite cocktails on its new drink menu (Last time they were out of beets.). Much like Atomic itself, this reimagined take on a classic is still somewhat under construction.

To read more of what our reviewer thought of this revamped staple in The Grove, click here.
-Photo by Jonathan Gayman



In This Issue: Where to Watch the Big Game

Sunday, September 15th, 2013



While rooting for your favorite team, the Gateway City has countless spots to wet (or drench) your cheering whistle – whether you favor cans of cheap Stag, local craft brews or specialty cocktails. To help pare down your options, we’ve compiled a guide that matches sporting events with our favorite game-day hangouts so your hoots and hollers will never fall on deaf ears.

Whatever your favorite sport, we’ve got the best place to watch. Click here to read more.

-Photo by Jonathan Gayman



In This Issue: Taco Takeover

Thursday, August 29th, 2013



Formerly a take-it-or-leave-it option for platos especiales and pick-three platters, nowadays, tacos are not just experiencing a boom, but a renaissance. By elevating the plebian staple, returning it to its street-vendor roots and reimaging it with exciting new twists, chefs across the country have re-energized the Mexican food scene with their singular focus on tacos.

Their tacos bear little resemblance to the hamburger-filled, deep-fried tortilla shells that were a fixture at every Chi-Chi’s and Casa Gallardo during the heyday of Americanized, fast-casual Mexican-food chains. It’s safe to say that Chevys will never feature grasshopper tacos, a staple on the menu at Gringo in the Central West End. The taquería, which opened this spring, imports grasshoppers by the kilo from Mexico, where they are munched like beer nuts in cantinas. “I’ve probably sold tens of thousands of these bugs,” said Steven Caravelli, corporate chef of Gringo and Pi Pizzeria. “It’s a strange business I’m in right now.”

On an average day, Gringo’s kitchen goes through roughly 900 to 1,000 freshly made tortillas. Some fillings are familiar – chicken, shredded pork, even ground beef – and some – octopus, red snapper and, of course, grasshopper – are less so.

Click here to read more about how tacos both traditional and off-the-wall have taken over St. Louis.

- Photo by Carmen Troesser


In This Issue: Nightlife – Alpha Brewing Company

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013


Alpha Brewing Company emerged this spring as the scrappy new contender in the ever-thriving St. Louis craft beer scene. There’s a distinct alternative appeal to this spot situated a block north of Washington Avenue. Alone in a gritty, nondescript back alley adjacent to the City Museum on Lucas Avenue, Alpha is flanked by a handful of parking lots. As the sun sets on a Friday, gaggles of club-ready 20-somethings click past the joint with hardly a glance. They’re not to blame, as the signage is almost purposely, yet fittingly, lacking.
Bellied up to the main bar is a herd of young guys – most in need of a shave, sporting flip-flops and T-shirts. Across from them in a dark leather sectional sits a brunette flipping through her smartphone, oblivious to her companions – two dudes in Polo shirts weighing in on politics. Opposite, a handful of middle-aged friends in button-downs hover over a narrow communal table stretching nearly the length of the entranceway. Outside, a small patio decked out in high-top tables teems with smokers, smokers’ friends and smokers’ dogs. Hardly an A-list, glitzy crowd, this is just the type of scene where anyone might comfortably blend in.
As you might expect from a fresh-faced endeavor deep in loft country, Alpha Brewing has a funky, laid-back look. A bright, abstract mural welcomes guests to a cozy, minimalist tasting room dressed with little more than a handful of wooden tables and a couch. From the center of the main bar, barkeeps pull on 10 taps – imposing pieces of custom metal (artwork in themselves) from which flows the real lifeblood of the place.
To read more about what Matt Berkley thought of this this tucked-away beer bar, click here.
-Photo by Jonathan Gayman

In This Issue: Short List – House Margarita

Saturday, July 20th, 2013


Seeing as the margarita is a cocktail popular enough to boast a personal holiday (Yes, Feb. 22 is National Margarita Day.), we figured it was about time we call out some of our top picks for this classic, warm-weather treat. Our parameters were simple: It had to be a house margarita, and it had to be fresh – no bottled premixes or smoothie-style, frozen, machine-dispensed nonsense. With this drink, balance is key. Mixologists who stray too far from Gary Regan’s formula of 3 parts tequila, 2 parts triple sec and 1 part lime juice flirt with the possibility of a drink that’s overly sweet, mouth puckering-ly sour or simply way too intense. So, who has walked this line well enough to make our list? Check ‘em out here.

-Photo by Carmen Troesser

In This Issue: Nightlife – Robust

Thursday, July 18th, 2013


The buzz in the air on a Friday night at Robust is enough to deter any thoughts of Washington Avenue losing its after-hours steam. Stationed on the corner of Seventh Street and Washington, Robust is a few blocks away from the neon madness and pub-club scene. Yet people are finding it.

To read more of what Matt Berkley thought of Robust, click here.

-Photo by Elizabeth Jochum

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