When Gary Crunkleton opened his namesake bar, The Crunkleton, in 2006, terms like “mixologist” and “craft cocktails” were not part of the cultural lexicon. He had some educating to do, and educate he did.
Over a decade later, The Crunkleton has garnered press in Southern Living as well as Garden & Gun magazine as one of the best bars in the South. While the bar stocks an arsenal of liquor – accessed by your bartender via a sliding ladder – bourbon is king here.
It is like a speakeasy housed in a library. Dark shadows dominate, and books on booze dominate the shelves. A billiards table is available just in case the idle chatter, whispered words and laughter don’t capture your attention. It’s a grand setting for a Franklin Street bar, with a floor to ceiling front window facade and bar longer than your curriculum vitae.
With a cocktail menu with over 25 options, I struggled for my Thirsty Thursday choice but ultimately settled on “Bitter Southerner No. 8.” It’s the product of a collaboration between The Crunkleton and the online magazine Bitter Southerner. It’s a bourbon-based concoction made with lemon curd, house-made ginger syrup, fresh squeezed lemon and sorghum.
Before I can even get into tasting the drink, I was mesmerized by the ice cubes. Truly an example of beautifully-cubed frozen perfection with a purpose behind them: they melt more slowly, therefore taking a longer time to dilute your beverage.
The Bitter Southerner No. 8 is a frothy drink with an almost lemon meringue vibe, but it’s still most definitely all about the bourbon. The sorghum gives it an earthy kick while the ginger syrup contributes a hint of peppery spice. Without a doubt, the ingredients all scream “southern,” which is preciously why it fits its double entendre name. Lucky for you, the online magazine has posted the recipe so you can try it at home.
What are you drinking? Where are you drinking? Let us know with a comment or tweet so we can keep your #thirstythursday bases covered.