Bartender and occasional Houstonia contributor Hal Brock has taken over the bar program at Boheme, the popular Montrose cafe where Brock will have his work cut out for him. After all, Boheme regulars are attached to three things above all: Boheme's famous sangria, its frozen mojitos, and its wine (room temperature though it may often be). But Boheme wants to be known for more than just this trio and its sprawling patio—and that's where Brock's new fall menu comes in.
The former Anvil and Hearsay bartender has added a stable of unusual new house cocktails that mimic Boheme's earthy eclecticism. My favorite when I dropped by last week to try Brock's new lineup was the Gunpowder, a mixture of El Dorado cask-aged rum, Smith & Cross Jamaican rum, Swedish punsch, lemon, and cinnamon—a wonderfully warm blend for the fall months. The Lift Ticket—a cocktail with bourbon, Cynar, Abbott's bitters, and more cinnamon—caught my eye for the same reason, but Brock convinced me instead to try a Wu Tang.
"It's our best seller," Brock grinned, passing the garishly colored drink across the bar. "And it's pink!" Ghostface Killah would probably approve; the Wu Tang—a simple blend of Ketel One vodka, Aperol, and grapefruit juice (fresh-squeezed from Texas Ruby Reds)—certainly tastes better than Alizé, anyway.
There are classics available, too, in case you're not quite ready to try a cocktail made with fennel bitters and yerba mate honey (though if you are, it's called the Vespa and it's great). In the Standards section of the cocktail menu, you'll find Southsides, Cosmos, Old Fashioneds, and even a margarita shaken up with dry curaçao and fresh-squeezed lime juice. During Boheme's weekday happy hour from 4 to 7 p.m., these standards are $7 across the board.
It goes without saying that now is prime patio weather, therefore making it the ideal time to head out to Boheme's massive, 6,000-square-foot patio decorated with fairy lights, bamboo, Zimbabwean statues and whatever else owner Morgan Holleman has dragged back from his latest world travels. And though former chef Rishi Singh has now moved on to cooking at Dry Creek in the Heights, his sought-after flatbread pizzas are still on the menu and pair perfectly with Brock's cocktails. (I should know; I ate two whole pizzas last week.)