I took my friend Lee for a cocktail at Sugarcane (1919 Washington Avenue, 713-864-9463) to treat him special in honor of his imminent departure for a summer in Mexico. Normally that situation would call for a well drink and a "see you in September." But he's going to Monterrey to train Mexican prosecutors in the art of the oral argument, so I sprung for something better. (Should narcotraficantes gun him down in the street, I wouldn't want one of the last times we spent together to involve McCormick vodka and watery orange juice.)
The evolving drinks list at Sugar Cane (slogan: "Live healthy, drink better") is interesting - the brand-new bar uses fresh, organic ingredients in its standard and its unique cocktails. (Even the straws are made of out recyclable, corn-based material, no bullshit.) I ordered my friend a Scarlet Letter, a house creation that had a strong, smoky bourbon flavor befitting a lawyer and delicate, flowery undertones befitting someone who used to have pierced nipples. The green-hued, television-free inside of the place is soothing, but we decided to grab a picnic table on the parking lot patio where we could sweat out all the tainted alcohol we'd had in the past few days and replace it with organic booze. And half a pack of light cigarettes. Here's to your health.
1 ½ ounces Maker's Mark bourbon ½ ounce Crism organic hibiscus liqueur ½ ounce St. Germain elderflower liqueur Splash of lemon juice
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Combine ingredients over ice in a shaker. Shake gently and strain into a cocktail glass.