Since there's really no better accessory than a cocktail in your hand, each week brings you a tasty adult beverage from one of our favorite drinking establishments, complete with recipe.
This week The Espresso Martini at Merc Bar.
Merc Bar is hidden away in the plaza across the street from Biltmore Fashion Park without so much as a sign to alert you you're in the right place. The martini on the doormat, however, should be a pretty decent giveaway and a hint of what's to come once you make it down the low-lit hallway and swagger up to the swanky bar to order your very own Espresso Martini.
A jolt of caffeine and a heavy-handed burst of alcohol should wake you right up, snapping you out of your food coma if you stop in for an after-dinner drink.
(Recipe after the jump.)
2 oz. Stolichnaya Vanilla
¼ oz. Tia Maira
1 oz. Bailey's Irish Crème
¼ oz. Real Espresso, chilled
Combine all the ingredients in a martini shaker over ice and shake well. Cocoa-powder the rim of a chilled martini glass and drizzle chocolate inside. Serve the martini up, and garnish with three espresso beans.
This espresso concoction leaves syrupy, sweet, and frozen coffee drinks from the big chains in the dust. It's exactly what you want from your after-dinner drink: Coffee, alcohol, and chocolate sans heavy cream and tasteless calories.
Despite its secret location, Merc Bar has none of the hipper-than-thou attitude one might expect. Don't let that deter you from dressing to the nines, though: Kitty corner from the Ritz and Houston's, it draws a well-heeled crowd.
Not game for a double-buzz? The down-to-earth bartenders will whip you up pretty much whatever you (or they) can think up. Or opt for a classic cocktail like the Sophia Loren or Moscow Mule.