Food & Drink » Bar Review

Nuts about berries

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MidCity Cuisine's one-time handful of expertly crafted cocktails has seen some updates in recent weeks, growing to a full-fledged fall menu. And while the beloved Milk and Honey martini still graces the bar, a complete assortment of spirit-warming concoctions now stands alongside it.

Though the weather outside was dipping into the 40s on the night we trekked into the bar, a substantial initial share of complimentary popcorn had me and my companion craving something refreshing and chilly. While I selected the very Haagen-Dazs assortment of vanilla, chocolate and espresso flavors poured into the Midnight Lounge, she determined that the Chambord and Frangelico-laden Nuts and Berries would satisfy her sweet tooth.

Upon ordering, however, we were warned that the latter beverage required a few moments of preparation, as it was blended to the consistency of a smoothie -- a far cry from the quickly shaken and poured Nuts and Berries I'd had about town. While my friend waited, I merrily sipped on my quickly prepared combination of vanilla vodka, Drambuie, espresso and Godiva dark chocolate liqueur. While its creamy flavors and milky texture hit the spot, I felt a pang of jealousy once I spied her completed cocktail.

As promised, the beverage was hand-blended to smooth, Slurpee-like perfection. Served in a tall, slender glass, a generous dose of cranberry turns the concoction a deep, ruby red, while the hazelnut liqueur adds warmth, preventing the berry flavors from becoming too tart or sweet. Each sip reveals a different flavor -- first you notice the sweetness of Chambord's raspberry, then the "zing" (as they call it) of cranberries, and finally the nutty creaminess of Frangelico.

Poured just generously enough to keep up conversation, we both shied from second drinks to allow a safe ride home. But you'd better believe we'll be heading back for MidCity's Hot Toddy once those nighttime temperatures reach freezing.

MidCity Cuisine, 1545 Peachtree St. 404-888-8700. www.midcitycuisine.com.

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