Last evening I found myself marching into Bolsa for their weekly cocktail challenge where they ask their Facebook friends to suggest ingredients. I always suggest “a duck” in the same voice of Arthur Pendragon as portrayed in Monty Python’s Holy Grail, but have yet to see this make it to the menu. There is always hope.
The challenge is simple, the boys behind the bar at Bolsa cull suggestions for a single spirit each week and draw the ideas from a hat. Literally a hat that was most likely made at House of MacGregor, the haberdashery located in the tiny showroom above the Oak Cliff restaurant. From a list of five ingredients the bartenders whip up five cocktails and offer each of them on Wednesdays for an even five bucks. It’s a great program.
There are a few fresh faces behind the bar since “Lucky” Campbell left Bolsa and I have been wondering who the next “Lucky” was going to be.
Enter Johnny Knecht and Kyle Hilla. What the young bartenders lack in cool nicknames they excel at crafting great cocktails. Both of these guys studied under Campbell and Jason Kosmas and have started blazing new trails of their own.
Last night I strayed from the regular five menu plan and asked Hilla to toss me one of his signature drinks. He carefully crafted a Gingersnap Sazerac that initially had a bite of a rattlesnake, but finished off smooth and lush. The drink is comprised of super fine sugar, Peychaud bitters, Art of the Age Gingersnap Liquor, Makers Mark and an absinthe rinse. Hilla finished the drink with a spray of lemon oil.
Hilla has been with Bolsa for nearly three years, but only behind the bar for the past six months. Knecht has been mixing much longer. It will be interesting to watch the pair of bar managers as they take the local cocktail culture by storm.