Duck call. Bloodhound. Shotgun wedding punch. The cocktails on MiLa's menu read like the local stories I covered in my first newspaper gig, at a rural Southern weekly deep in tobacco country.
Since joining MiLa, bartender Rachad Rad has worked with chefs Allison Vines-Rushing and Slade Rushing to match their beautiful, fresh Southern plates (among my favorite in the city) with worthy drinks.
While you'll recognize the Mississippi Mule (gin, crème de cassis, lemon) and Redneck Girl (a French 75 variation based on tart, berry-infused gin), Rachad's own specialty drinks lead the list.
Besides the evocative names, his cocktails are - appropriately - on the sweet side, featuring amaretto, sugared tea, fruity molasses and lots of bourbon.
Among them is the Hoochie Coochie, a name that suggests sex, sexy dancing, the blues and more sex. Like most good things, it's a simple stir of Maker's Mark, peach schnapps and ginger beer. The flavor pairings have a long history in Southern drinks, and work here too: peachy bourbon sharpened with warm, spicy ginger.
It's pleasing, refreshing and took me back to my newsroom in eastern Carolina, covering gator thefts, deer hunters and divining rods.
MiLa at the Renaissance Pere Marquette, 817 Common, 412.2580
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