When you think about relaxation, I know for me, the visual is me on a beach, under an umbrella with a MaiTai or some other kind of cocktail in my hand just sipping away. The question is, what’s the key element of that scene that makes it so relaxing? I tend to believe that it’s the perfectly mixed blend of just the right ingredients to make a beautiful cocktail. So, here in Oklahoma, we may not get to sit on a white sand beach every Tuesday, but we can go down to Palo Santo and get an amazing stress-reducing cocktail.
I made my way to this stylishly rustic bar two years ago, which happened to be the night that the OKC Thunder shut down. It also happened to be 4 days after Brian and Bailey Butler opened the doors to this dream of theirs. Definitely not the opening week that anyone would ever want, and would drive the weaker of heart to give up. Not this couple. They believed Oklahoma needed a bar like this. I tend to agree. We needed this LA and Oaxacan-inspired bar with amazing multicultural bar food taken to the next level and perfectly crafted cocktails that you can get lost in.
Let’s talk about this food before we move on to the cocktails. Bailey describes the menu as Multicultural bar food. The menu is more of a small plate-style menu with everything taken to another level. The LA-inspired bacon-wrapped hot dog with chile aioli, grilled onion & chile, and cilantro, is not to be confused with any hot dog in town, it stands apart and now I am craving one. They have Oaxacan-inspired tacos, the best wings in town (seriously, I love wings and nothing comes close to these), a cheeseburger that could do battle with any burger place in town, and a few other delectable bites that you have to try. You absolutely have to try the Okonomiyaki Tots, they bring a fresh love to an age-old food somewhat forgotten in a land full of french fries.
Now for the stars of the show, the cocktails. With a cocktail menu 45 strong and growing, there is no lack of elegance, creativity, and flavor. Palo Santo is known for its wide variety of Mezcal. For those that don’t know, Mezcal is a distilled spirit made from any variety of agave plants. Cooking the agave in pits in the ground gives it a strong smoky flavor.
In essence, Mezcal is Tequila’s wiser older brother that likes a good cigar. At Palo Santo, you can experience this experienced drink and even dive into one of 12 Mezcal flights for a great introduction to this smokey spirit.
Palo Santo may be known for their Mezcal, but that isn’t where they stop. They have built one of the most complete cocktail menus in OKC. They literally have something for everyone, that is of age and doesn’t default to Vodka Soda because they are looking after their girlish figure. My personal favorite and probably my favorite cocktail in OKC is the house named cocktail the Palo Santo. This beautiful cocktail starts with Mezcal Espadin then combines pineapple barley sencha, and demerara to make what can most easily be described as a mezcal old-fashioned.
In our interview, Bailey made us three of the crowd’s favorite cocktails. She started with the Tokyo Old Fashioned which happens to be one of my favorites. Japanese whiskey has been making a name for itself in the whiskey realm in the last few years and this old-fashioned is proof that it is here to love. This Old Fashioned starts with 2 ounces of Suntory Toki whiskey, a ¼ ounce of their house-made black tea vanilla banana syrup and poured over a Palo Santo stamped crystal clear ice cube and finally garnished with a lemon peel. I highly recommend you give this classic twist a try.
Next, she made us the Sunny Spot which was a treat to drink, smooth, flavorful, and fun. I mean if you can’t have fun with a cocktail, what are you doing with your life? This drink is kind of a Tiki Margarita and I can very much see myself sipping it on a beach somewhere. To make it you start with 1 1/2 ounces reposado tequila, ¾ fresh lime, ½ ounce curacao, ½ ounce apricot, ½ ounce falernum, and garnished with a Hawaiian black lava salt rim.
Finally, we had the High Noon which is in their long drinks section. This is a colorful fun, fresh and fun cocktail perfect for relaxing on a beach or dancing the night away. This cocktail starts with an ounce of Blanco tequila, ½ ounce of fresh lime ½ ounce of manzanilla sherry, ½ ounce simple syrup, 1 ½ ounce pineapple juice, a dash of gentiane, and finished with Angostura bitters then garnished with a beautiful dehydrated pineapple.
To wrap this up, get over to the OKC Farmer’s Market and check out Palo Santo and all their amazing food and cocktails. Tell them we sent you, but whatever you do, don’t pour one out for the homies, that’s alcohol abuse.