Maybe it's all those American flags I see around the city, but I am getting a powerful thirst for something really patriotic to drink. Driving through the Montrose, I see, across the street from my favorite drag bar, a former church now housing Mark's American Cuisine (1658 Westheimer, 713-523-3800). Chef Mark Cox is justly famed for both the quality and imagination of his dishes. Will the bar follow suit?
I traverse the nave to the bar, which is, appropriately, in the location once occupied by the altar. No less an American than Benjamin Franklin observed that "wine is constant proof that God likes to see us happy." There, veteran bartender Michael Dalby, who has been a mixologist for half of his 35 years on earth, obliges my desire for an all-American cocktail by creating his "Mark's Maker's Mark Lemonade." It mixes that most nostalgic of childhood summer beverages, lemonade, with bourbon whiskey, a drink so American it sparked a rebellion against the government of President George Washington. The two flavors blend into a cooling, fragrant whole that compels me to take sip after sip.
Mark's Maker's Mark Lemonade:
1.5 ounces of Maker's Mark bourbon
2 ounces of simple syrup
Juice of one lemon, freshly squeezed
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Shake the combined ingredients vigorously with crushed ice, then strain into a chilled martini glass rimmed with white sugar. Garnish the rim of the glass with a strip of lemon peel.