I don’t know what it is about me. But apparently, whenever I’m in a bar in Texas, the bartender wants to give me whisky. And not just any whisky, top shelf tastes of some of the most incredible liquors I’ve ever savored.
I must give off a certain vibe.
Bored with writing in my room, I decided to venture downstairs to the lobby bar at the hotel. I mean, why write in silence when you can write at the bar? Right? Ha! I have jokes….
Immediately upon sitting at the bar, I was greeted with an extremely friendly bartender named Victor. After making small talk, I asked if the hotel’s rather extensive selection of Papa Van Winkle was worth it.
“No.” was his immediate answer. “Plus, we’re out of all of them on the menu.”
I laughed at the swiftness of the statement and the humor of it all.
Instead, he offered me something else. Out came a bottle of E.H. Taylor, Jr. Small Batch KENTUCKY STRAIGHT BOURBON WHISKEY by Buffalo Trace Distillery. He poured a taste and gave it to me.
I was immediately impressed.
I originally considered the SMOOTH JAZZ (Las Californias Native gin, mint, blueberry, fresh lime juice). But, after conferring with the bartender – who said he didn’t want to waste my time with it.
I then ordered the SPICED MAPLE SOUR (Sill Austin Private Select bourbon, allspice dram, maple syrup, fresh lemon juice). The flavor profile was exactly what I was looking for. The allspice gave it a distinct, Holiday profile. Which also smoothed the bourbon out nicely.
Challenging Victor to make an incredible, off menu cocktail as a sort of bartender’s choice, he surprised me. Out came a cup of ATTORNEY PRIVILEGE (Bourbon, orgeat, Anostura bitters).
It. Was. Incredible.
The orgeat gave the drink a well rounded, nutty flavor on the mouth. It was strong, without being overbearing and top heavy. That’s something that a well educated bartender knows how to do well. Victor is one of the best.
After heavy conversation about an amazing list of recommended vineyards and distilleries, I was given a taste of an outstanding tequila: PATRÓN EL CIELO.
Victor also recommended the following, for future enjoyment:
- Casa Noble Reposado Single Barrel Tequila
- Bib & Tucker Distillery Bourbon
- Micheal David Winery
- Belle Glos Winery
- The Prisoner Wine Company’s line: Blindfold
- Orin Swift Winery’s 8 YEARS IN THE DESERT line.
- Highland Park Distillery’s 15 Year Old, Gordon Motion
Overall, my time at the Lobby Bar at JW Marriott Austin was an nice time at a lovely, upmarket lounge in Austin, Texas.
JW Marriott Austin Lobby Bar
110 East 2nd Street
Austin, Texas 78701