Cheers to fall on Main Street — Columbia’s bustling happy hour hub. With the revitalization of the charming Main Street District, young professionals are now flocking to the chic bars and restaurants dotted along its corridor. These restaurant trendsetters are not only offering fresh twists on cuisine, but they are shaking and stirring up creative cocktails that send taste buds tingling!
CMM couldn’t resist the Main Street cocktail call and curated the following libations tour to hit several notable spots. Our tour sips its way through Smoked, Hendrix, Bourbon, and Market on Main, with a final “wine down” at Lula Drake. Each restaurant offers a unique ambiance that blends big-city vibes with Cola Town charm and Southern hospitality, so trade your computer for a cocktail and spend your evening on Main Street.
Perhaps best of all, each bartender has graciously shared with us their newest recipes for unique twists on traditional fall flavors, inviting you to take the taste of Main Street home to your own living room!
Hendrix | 1649 Main Street
Courtesy of “Head Juice Slinger” Gabe King
Apple of My Rye
Nothing screams fall quite like the smell of apples. A soft crostini, topped with fresh apple, whipped goat cheese, walnuts, dried cherries, arugula, and drizzled pomegranate reduction, offers a nice balance of sweetness and smooth tanginess for a crisp yet creamy punch.
This appetizer pairs well with “Apple of My Rye,” a mixture of whiskey, apple, lemon, and allspice. A palatable, citrus whiskey cocktail deserves a strong, high-proof spirit, like Old Grand-Dad, coming in at 114 proof. Alone, a higher proof sip can be harsh and intimidating, but adding an allspice honey gives the perfect sweetness to manipulate the cocktail, and lemon adds some acidity.
Contrary to traditional belief that whiskey cocktails are to be stirred, when adding citrus and heavy amounts of juice or sweeteners, it’s wise to shake. Most cocktails need dilution, and with so many complex flavors this one should be shaken vigorously! Fuji apple is one of the sweeter varieties, so for a more tart libation, go for the juice from a Granny Smith or a Pink Lady apple.
1 ounce Old Grand-Dad 114
1 ounce Rittenhouse Rye
½ ounce Calvados
½ ounce St. George Spiced Pear
1 ounce juice from a Fuji apple
½ ounce Allspice Honey Syrup (recipe below)
¾ ounce lemon
All ingredients are put into a shaker tin, shaken, and strained into a Collins glass over ice. Place an apple fan for garnish.
Allspice Honey Syrup
Bring 2 parts honey and 1 part water to a simmer. Once simmered, turn off the heat and drop in some clove, a pinch of cinnamon, and grated nutmeg.
Market on Main | 1320 Main Street #150
Courtesy of co-founder Josh Willoughby and bartender Talon Rawls
Open on Sundays
This cocktail is reminiscent of the Chick-Fil-A Polynesian Sauce, served with a sliced pickle and a cow-patterned straw to boot. The mesquite barbecue bourbon aromas are prominent, paired with peach bitters and a Polynesian simple syrup reduction. This spin on the classic old-fashioned is a great introductory cocktail made for all those who yearn for a taste of Chick-Fil-A on a Sunday!
2 ounce hickory smoked bourbon
3 dashes peach bitters
1 teaspoon Polynesian Sauce Reduction (recipe below)
Shake rigorously, pour over large ice, garnish with market pickle chip.
Polynesian Sauce Reduction
½ cup Catalina salad dressing
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons onion powder
2 tablespoons garlic powder
Bring all ingredients to a boil, then slow to a simmer until it thickens.
Smoked | 1643 Main Street
Courtesy of assistant general manager and bar manager Jake Cooper
Fall is obviously much more than one day, so this cocktail captures more than just Thanksgiving. The marshmallow and sweet potato together are hitting that Thanksgiving nostalgia of sweet potato casserole, and roasting the marshmallow gives the feeling of a fall night sitting by a campfire making s’mores. Just like selecting your “temp” for a steak, the toasted marshmallow is cooked to each person’s preference.
Incorporating sweet potatoes in cocktails can be tricky, as it can come out either extremely starchy or overly sweet. Introducing the Oloroso sherry, which is quite dry with a pleasant nuttiness, brings balance and lets the earthiness of the sweet potato shine.
The last touch is the chili lime salt. Spice is sometimes introduced to sweet flavor profiles in cocktails as a way to tease the senses. The cocktail overall is heavy, and the marshmallow is very sweet. Having that light sprinkle of acidity and spice hit right away really prepares the palate for something heavy.
2 ounces spiced sweet potato puree
½ ounce fresh lime juice
½ ounce Oloroso sherry
½ ounce Hamilton Beachbum Berry’s Zombie Blend rum
1 ounce Goslings Black Seal Rum
Shake, double strain into dessert cocktail glass. Garnish with a giant marshmallow, roasted to desired specification either with a blowtorch or in a toaster oven. Sprinkle chili lime salt on top.
This classic cocktail, which originated in New Orleans, is actually believed to be the oldest cocktail in America. Created by Aaron Bird in the 1850s, the cocktail featured bitters made by a local apothecary named Antoine Amedie Peychaud, which became known as Peychaud’s Bitters, now some of the most important in all of cocktailing. The drink was then refined in the 1870s by Thomas Handy when he acquired the building that later became known as the Sazerac House.
The recipe originally featured cognac as its main ingredient but switched to rye due to a massive phylloxera epidemic that affected vineyards across France. Using both cognac and rye whiskey works well for a number of reasons, the main one being that the fruitier notes of the cognac do a nice job of balancing all of the spice of the rye. Peychaud’s Bitters are more herbal than the well-known Angostura bitters, which are centered around flavors of baking spices. While absinthe tends to be a little intimidating and has a wild reputation, it is an essential component to this cocktail. Use an atomizer to spray the glass and limit the amount that makes it into the flavor profile; its main purpose is to lend aroma.
3 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
¼ ounce simple syrup
½ ounce cognac
1½ ounce rye whiskey
Stir and serve in a rocks glass neat with lemon peel.
Bourbon | 1214 Main Street
Courtesy of bartenders Kayla Berube and Jason Davis
This savory and bright cocktail is a perfect combination of autumnal flavors. The butternut and sage shrub provide just a bit of sweetness from the squash. The brown butter wash on the rye whiskey gives a very silky, rich texture. The featured local amaro from High-Wire Distilling in Charleston has a lovely balance of fall-flavored spices and adds depth to any lighter, brighter cocktail. Overall, the cocktail tastes like a harvest dinner in a glass. Burnt orange in color, it is velvety, frothy, spiced, and bright.
¾ ounce Brown-Butter-Washed Old Forester Rye (recipe below)
¾ ounce High-Wire Southern Amaro
¾ ounce Butternut Squash, Sage & Clove Shrub (recipe below)
½ ounce egg white
1 dash Angostura bitters
1 dash orange bitters
Add all ingredients to a shaker tin and vigorously shake without ice to emulsify the egg whites. Fill shaker tin with ice and shake until the glass begins to frost, about 8-10 seconds. Double strain into a chilled coupe glass and garnish with a leaf of sage and a few drops of Angostura bitters. Cheers!
Brown-Butter-Washed Old Forester Rye Whiskey
16 ounces rye whiskey (recommend Old Forester 100 proof)
1 stick of butter
Melt butter into saucepan, stirring frequently until butter starts to get brown and smell nutty, then remove from heat. Let cool, add rye, and whisk the two ingredients together. Let mixture sit in a sealed container at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours, then freeze for 24 hours until the fat is solidified.
Remove from the freezer; the butter will freeze at the top of the container and should be easy to remove in one solid piece. Strain through a fine mesh strainer and cheesecloth until clear; this may take multiple passes. Transfer to a fresh container and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Butternut Squash, Sage, & Clove Shrub
1 small butternut squash
1 cup of cane sugar
1½ cups of apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons of fresh sage, roughly shredded
1 tablespoon of cloves, lightly crushed
First bake the squash: cut in half, lay face down on a baking sheet with a little water, and bake for 45 minutes in a 350 F oven. Once cooked, scoop out the flesh of the fruit into a large, sealable container and allow to cool. Add the cup of sugar and stir until well incorporated. Place lid on the jar and let rest in the refrigerator overnight (at least 12 hours). Next, add the vinegar, sage, and cloves. Place the lid back on and give the container a few good shakes. Refrigerate for an additional 3 to 5 hours. Finally, strain through a fine mesh strainer and cheesecloth into an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator for up to six weeks.
Lula Drake | 1635 Main Street
Courtesy of proprietor and head sommelier Tim Gardner and general manager G. Scott Wild
This last stop on our Main Street libation tour provides the perfect “wine down” — Madeira. Fortified wine is the ideal cool weather nightcap, wrapping up the comforts of fall into a medley of warm flavors and easing your evening to a close.
A glass of South Carolina’s historically favorite wine, Madeira, pairs well with the Stilton Blue Board, featuring English Stilton Blue Cheese accompanied by a selection of fresh fruit and nuts. America’s love of Madeira, however, goes far beyond the borders of South Carolina. When the Founding Fathers gathered in Philadelphia in 1776 to sign the Declaration of Independence, they celebrated with a glass of Madeira. It became so popular that it was used to toast many other historic moments in American history, including the signing of the Constitution and the Louisiana Purchase.
The Rare Wine Co. Boston Bual Madeira has incredible balance and refreshing acidity. The hallmark of this wine is its otherworldly complexity, featuring cinnamon-clove spiciness with overtones of citrus peel and woodsmoke. Just enough sweetness beautifully counterpoints the Stilton’s creamy, pungent aftertaste and yeasty, salty, nutty finish.