There are increasingly few places to have an audible conversation on Fremont East, but my go-to spot for respite is Parlour Bar inside El Cortez. And on this Wednesday evening, with the PA mercifully piping in traditional jazz, my boyfriend and I decide to mellow out with a drink.
From Parlour’s cocktail menu, I choose the Açaí Caipirinha, while my boyfriend picks the South Side. My drink comes first, and the black-cherry notes of the Grey Goose make their presence felt immediately, the advertised açaí surfacing a few swigs later. My boyfriend takes one swig and groans. “It’s good, but this isn’t a real caipirinha,” he says. He would know. He’s made several trips to Brazil, where the cocktail is beloved—and usually boasts not vodka, but cachaça, a sugarcane-based distillate. I’m drinking what’s known elsewhere as a caipivodka (or alternatively, a caipiroska).
Later, I ask John Civitello, director of food and beverage for El Cortez, about the misnomer. “What can I say—we’re taking poetic license on the drink,” he says of the cocktail, devised by occasional Parlour collaborator Southern Wine & Spirits. “It’s a broad stretch.” I’m not hung up on this—I dig its flavor profile, as complex as the brassy arrangement filling the air. Once again, I can rely on the Parlour.
1 ½ oz. Grey Goose Cherry Noir vodka
½ oz. Cedilla Açaí Liqueur
1 oz. simple syrup
Method: Place lime wedges and vodka in mixing glass. Muddle to extract the juice. Add ice and açaí liqueur, shake and pour (do not strain) into a lowball glass.