Bartender Chat: Russell Thoede of Flora & Muse

Bartender Chat: Russell Thoede of Flora & Muse

Flora & Muse is a charming bar/ bistro/ pastry shop/ flower shop that opened up about a month ago in Houston's City Centre. I stopped by on a beautiful afternoon and found myself chatting with Russell Thoede, who happens to be the new bar manager. He has worked at many of Houston's best restaurants, including Benjy's, Zelko Bistro and Backstreet Café, but two weeks into the Flora & Muse gig, he's finding himself happier than ever. "I get a lot of creative freedom," he explains. "In fact, I'm in the process of rewriting the whole drink menu based on my own recipes."

Many of the drinks will be floral creations, but I was in the mood for a Bloody Mary. It starts off with a couple tablespoons of F&M's gazpacho, to which he adds Crop Organic Cucumber Vodka and a house-made Bloody Mary mix. The result is a green and red swirly drink that is light and refreshing and totally unlike any Bloody Mary you've tried before. The cucumber vodka is a great touch.

What does Thoede like to drink? "St. Arnold's Oktoberfest and wines, especially Syrahs," he says. "I like whiskey. Actually there's not a single thing I don't like to drink." Sounds like someone found the right profession. Come by and check out Flora & Muse's cozy European-style café and ask Thoede to whip you up something delicious.

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