The next day always comes too quickly when you are on vacation, drinking or not. But since we still had a day (and night) to be in Dallas, we sure as hell weren’t going to waste it. So we added M.R. to the venerable gentleman mix (he was our host, by the way) and headed to the beer garden/honky-tonk/cheesesteak stand/tree house known as the Truck Yard. From the aforementioned odd combination of destinations might suggest, the Truck Yard has a little something for everyone’s inner child and a lot of charismatic low-brow awesomeness. And the steak rocks. Let’s just say, at the Truck Yard, you are not going to be served diet food. Given the amounts of ribeye and cheese I was about to ingest in the Texas heat, water seemed like a good choice before booze. The wait staff, who had been slaving over hot flat top grills all day, kept their spirits by their rapid-fire good-natured chiding of each customer in line. Lord knows I should have never dropped the obviously ‘you-ain’t-from-here-are-ya-boy’ phrase, “I could stand some water.” The cashier is probably still shaking her head, laughing.
After a round of cheesesteaks, we went out into the yard with beers to meet up with friends and relatives. My brew of choice was a Lakewood Lager from the brewery of the same name in nearby Garland, Texas. The Lakewood was poured out from a possibly-too-warm tap, so it had a two-finger cream head over its amber body. It smelled sweeter than it is, and although the Lakewood is a mostly unremarkable draft, it went down remarkable well in the given the temperature and ambiance of the Truck Yard.
We said goodbye to the Truck Yard and went south into Deep Ellum, Dallas’ historic music and entertainment district. After experiencing a decline from its 1990s glory days, the Deep Ellum neighborhood is returning with a mixture of higher class cocktail joints among its traditional music hangouts like the Green Room, Trees, and the Boiler Room.
The cocktail bar I had set my eye on was Armoury Deep Ellum. Armoury D. E. is a newcomer to Dallas, opening its doors in 2015. Locating the bar is a challenge, its roadside facade only sports a neon ‘A’ over its entry. Inside, the space speaks industrial with its wood-lined exposed brick and pendant orb lights. We took to a table and hailed a waitress. Aaron ordered a Laphroaig rinsed house cocktail named the Bonnie & Clyde, a combination of bourbon, rye, flower-infused demerara syrup, cedar smoke and bitters. M. J. ordered a cocktail with a Pantera-y appellation suitable to summer: the Vulgar Display of Sour. The VDoS mixes a number of greens and herbs such as cilantro, cardamom, cucumber, paprika, and limes with gin and bitter quinquina. If you were thinking that those two cocktails were involved, I ordered the most complicated cocktail of the night, the Deadly Melody, a tiki drink with Appleton V/X and Hamilton 151 rum, Batavia arrack, velvet falernum, mint, pineapple, lime, strawberry, coconut cream, orgeat, Angostura bitters, and Copper & Kings absinthe, all delivered in a massive Lovecraftian tiki mug crafted by Body Glove (pictured). M. R. asked for the drink we have re-created here, the Lone Gunman (another name that is grimly apropos, given that Armoury D. E. is on Elm Street, the same street President Kennedy was assassinated).
Drink: Lone Gunman
Establishment: Armoury Deep Ellum
Location: Dallas, Texas
First Connoisseur: Mike R. Hoffman
First Connoisseur: Mike R. Hoffman
2 ounces vodka
1 ounce Aperol
½ ounce fresh-squeezed lemon juice
½ ounce Bull’s Blood claret syrup
Create claret syrup by making a 2:1 rich simple syrup on the stovetop as you have done frequently for other Firewater Lounge syrups (in this case, 2 cups of sugar to 1 cup of Hungarian Bull’s Blood Egri Bikavér. A Bordeaux will do instead of the Armoury’s insistence on Bull’s Blood. Note that the word ‘claret’ simply denotes the syrup’s red color)