Last night Charlie and I tore through Over the Rhine here in Cincinnati in an attempt to try every drink in the area that was featured for Yelp Drinks 2013. We made it to five bars in 90 minutes before giving up and going home, so we only missed Lavomatic. I consider it something of an achievement that we managed to average 18 minutes per drink when you take into account that we took the time to sit down for a delicious burger at Taste of Belgium after having the 2nd place drink, the Rosemary Bistro, there. But just like in reality TV, there can only be one winner and so it is with great difficulty that I announce that the best drink of the night was the Smoked Elderflower at Neon’s Unplugged.
I never though I would enjoy a bar called Neon’s and until I read up on the history I couldn’t figure out how it got the name in the first place. With its long narrow interior, dark wood beams, patrons wearing knit hats, and a dog laying by the entrance Neon’s feels like an old pub in a European fishing village but the variety of craft beer and house-made bitters was decidedly modern. Neon’s had a nice sounding beer on special for Yelp drinks and the wine is half price on Wednesdays, but we’d been on a cocktails-only diet and we weren’t stopping now so we ordered the Smoked Elderflower. The bartender described it as a smoked gimlet. It was made with vodka, smoked fig bitters, St Germain, a splash of lemon juice, Sprite and then garnished with fresh lavender and a lemon wheel. The result was a smokey-citrus taste that was really unique and enjoyable.
This is a bar I will definitely be trying again, most likely when it’s a little warmer. In addition to pool tables they have bocce and a great looking beer garden. Do be warned that this is a dog friendly establishment. I found it endearing but if you are allergic or adverse to animals watching you eat you might find it off putting.