While July 13 was a Friday, and thus a superstition-filled day, it was also a Houston holiday. On 713 Day, there was a rocking party happening at the Cottonmouth Club set to the heavy tunes of Led Zeppelin and KISS, and the main reason to party (besides honoring our fair Space City) was the unveiling of the bar’s new cocktail menu.
Ironically, Cottonmouth opened its doors to the public during the last Friday the 13th in April. The bar, owned by Mike Raymond (Reserve 101) and Michael Neff (cocktail bar veteran formerly of New York), opened to a fantastic reception even with a limited menu. So, you could understand if Raymond and Neff aren’t superstitious in the least.
While David Bowie sang about a Starman that didn’t want to blow our minds, my mind was being blown by the beautiful Cottonmouth menu. Bartender Rose Rocha ran through the menu and explained some of the cocktails, like the Long Lost Pal, one of the house originals, which contains Jack Rye whiskey, Shackleton blended scotch, Dolin dry vermouth, Bruto Americano, and Sprite syrup. I found the cocktail boozy, balanced, and sweet with a bite. The house original cocktails are named after song lyrics (Mariachi Static, Terminally Pretty, Little Pirate in My Mind), so bonus points if you can name the songs.
“The menu is designed to represent the philosophy of the whole place. Yes, cocktails, but in it is interaction, an homage to music and a cheekiness, and all the stuff we want to be,” says Neff. “We wanted to be very accessible and modern and hopefully good.”
No visit to the Cottonmouth Club would be complete without a dip into the self-titled cocktail, because like with all great rock bands, the best albums are usually the self-titled ones. The Cottonmouth Club's eponymous drink consists of Blend Whiskey, blended by Raymond and Neff; Avua Amburana; Cachaca; fresh lemon; berry mélange; peychaud’s; and egg white.
Cottonmouth puts a Jungle Bird, Julep, and Cosmopolitan—a drink Neff says deserves its due—up front on its classic menu. If you happen to catch the happy hour at Cottonmouth, they offer a Nickel Negroni (yup, a Negroni for a nickel … but just the first one).
On the back of the menu the bar offers the Pinwheel Old Fashioned, which Neff considers Cottonmouth’s “flag in the sand.” With the Old Fashioned, Neff wants to clear up a misconception: that you can’t make one with anything other than bourbon. Instead, like a choose-your-adventure book, pick what spirit, sweetener, and bitter you’d want in your very own concoction. You can do the exact same with a French 75 or 76 by picking the spirit and bubbles.
“Let the children lose it/Let the children use it/Let all the children boogie!”: Bowie’s ”Starman” echoes the sentiment that the Cottonmouth Club is striving for. Break out of the mundane, buck the trends, and party like a rock star while sipping on whatever cocktail you like.