what: Indah Espresso Old Fashioned
where: Hendrix, 1649 Main St., 803-834-5132
Ordering a drink at a brand-new bar during a soft opening event should typically be done with adjusted expectations, as bartenders may still be in training or operating on a limited menu. This isn’t the case at Hendrix, where the staff behind the seemingly endless white marble bar at Main Street’s newest upscale spot is firing on all cylinders.
The first cocktail on the menu is always a good starting point at a new place, as there’s likely a reason it was given the No. 1 slot. The Indah Espresso Old Fashioned takes top billing at Hendrix, a drink that’s representative of the bar program’s emphasis on local collaboration and in-house aged cocktails. Four Roses bourbon is infused with Espresso #5 from nearby Indah Coffee, which serves as the backbone of this riff on a cocktail bar staple.
Served in a highball glass over a massive ice cube, the drink’s amber color looks like any other bourbon-based concoction, save for the espresso bean garnish. The coffee aroma ends any flavor confusion as the glass reaches your nose, waking up your senses and preparing you for the first sip.
Coffee bitterness presents itself up front, tempered quickly by the addition of Demerara sugar, like dropping a sugar cube into your tiny espresso mug. Aztec chocolate bitters shine next, as the sweetened espresso gives way to notes of spiced baker’s chocolate. Bourbon heat cuts through at the end, with the lingering chocolate and coffee flavors combining to create a mocha effect that rides the bourbon to a lengthy finish.
At $12, the Indah Espresso Old Fashioned is on the high side of Hendrix’s drink list — where prices start at $9 — but the use of locally sourced ingredients and house infused bourbon make it worth splurging for this creative play on a classic.