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<strong>Babalu&rsquo;s Pineapple Upside Down Cake cocktail is made with grenadine, club soda, lemon and lime juice, a dash of salt, muddled pineapples, Licor 43 and Grey Goose vanilla vodka</strong>. (Patrick Lantrip/Daily Memphian)

Bar Talk: Babalu

'Tis the season for a festive drink, but that doesn't mean you have to whip up pumpkin in a latte. At Babalu, where seasonal cocktails rotate through the menu, they're riffing on a holiday cake this year.

Bar Talk: Belle Tavern

Belle Tavern owner/bartender Chris Ferri has a nice list of cocktails at the ready, but when I walked in last week and saw cherries marinating, bottles of syrups on one counter, a nice collection of bitters on another and a wall full of spirits, I was moved to request an on-the-spot cocktail.

Bar Talk: Char

The drinks list at Char has always been divided by spirits and when the restaurant opened, this was simply the whiskey cocktail.


  • Recipe of the Week: 2-minute tuna

    Mark Travis is a Facebook friend who posted a photo of a plate of barely-seared tuna a few weeks ago. He seared it frozen, he said, then sliced and refrigerated it until it thawed. It sounded too easy, so I contacted him for step-by-step instructions and, well, that was pretty much all there was to it.



  • In the Kitchen With: Jonathan Cole

    Jonathan Cole is the founder of the blog placeatthetable.net and the Memphis Cooks Facebook group. The Midtown resident (and native Memphian) is a social worker by day and a home cook who likes to cook for sustenance and for fun (noodle around on his blog and check out his upscale adaptation of the bologna cake with Ranch dressing that periodically makes the Facebook rounds). We recently caught up with him to make a batch of soup.

  • Bar Talk: Harold Cook and oysters at Sweet Grass

    Harold Cook, the head bartender at Sweet Grass and Next Door in Cooper Young, turns to gin and muddled aromatics when asked to pair a cocktail with the oysters at Sweet Grass' oyster bar. This one holds up to the brininess of the oysters, but is light and has a bit of a kick from the chile pepper, too.

  • Bar Talk: Whiskey at McEwen’s

    Bert Smythe likes whiskey so much that he keeps a selection of 185-plus bottles behind the bar at McEwen’s, the restaurant at 120 Monroe he owns with partner John Littlefield.

  • Moroccan stew great all year, but good on chilly night

    My friend Peggy Burch frequently makes the stovetop version of Melissa Clark’s Moroccan stew, and one bowlful of it was all it took to convert me to soaking and cooking dried garbanzo beans. Then Clark’s cookbook “Dinner in an Instant” came out, and I switched to this version, close but not exactly the same, that I make in my Instant Pot (I’ve used pressure cookers for years and cannot recommend them enough).

  • Bar Talk: Drew Wooten at Alchemy

    It’s worth a little trouble to turn out a good cocktail. The Burnt Caipirinha at Alchemy requires a bit of prep ahead of time, but after you’ve made an oleo-saccharum and grilled your lemons, well, then there’s nothing to it.

  • Recipes: Pear Skillet Cobbler

    Some folks can whip up a cake on a whim, but I don’t have a baker’s touch. It’s a production for me, something that requires following a recipe, hauling out a mixer and cleaning up a mess.

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