Third time was the charm when Tupelo Junction finally settled into its current location to the left of The Granada. It had previously tried a spot on Chapala and then moved into a space to the right of The Granada. But we like its final choice for one major reason: It allowed them to get a liquor license. When the food is Southern, what could be better than an accompanying cocktail in a hooch jar?
The Palace also does this jar business, so we assume that nobody in Louisiana ever pickles or preserves anything, as all the drinkers are busy using their glass. Unless you’re talking about pickling your own liver.
The other thing we like about Tupelo is all the ladies in the house (Say yeah? Yeah!). The restaurant was started by Amy and Katie Scott and Ashley Morris. The bar staff and servers are all women. (We heard there were guys busy cooking in the kitchen, but we didn’t see their faces.) This made us ready to sidle up to the bar and get plied with cocktails.
One has to start with the Bloody Mary. The lighter pink color suggests Clamato is in the mix, along with a host of other flavors like garlic-stuffed olives, Worcestershire sauce, horseradish, Tabasco, celery salt and much more. The crab claw holding up a straw made us chuckle.
The Bloody Mary recipe came after a late night session with a British chef and football (you Yanks call it soccer) fan, all determined to ease some aching heads. All parties succeeded, and the Bloody Mary is one to rival the others in town. For those that feel the cocktail is too brunchy, the Ragin’ Cajun comes in a lowball glass, keeps the mix, ditches the veggies and uses Absolut Peppar. Much spicier in the evening, this.
The Blackberry Basil Mojito shows off its deep blue and violet colors all through the glass, with green mint hanging near the top. The mojito is not too sweet, even a bit sharp, though the bartender prefers it that way. Sugar, like salt, can always be added to taste, and in this case, it comes as mint simple syrup. Heavy with the fruit, we dug it.
But peaches are more in tune with our vision of the South, so it was a delight to finish on the Savannah Georgia Peach Squeeze, a mix of rum and peach schnapps. A little sunset in a glass, the cocktail was up to our standards — be delicious and be strong.
And with that, we knew we had found our Drink of the Week.
SAVANNAH GEORGIA PEACH SQUEEZE
1-1/2 shot Captain Morgan Rum
1/2 shot Peach Schnapps
1/2 shot Orange Juice
1/2 Cranberry juice
Mix over ice and empty into lowball glass. Garnish with orange wheel.
1218 State St.