I went to Hops & Hominy the other night because I wanted to try the Pork Chops & Apple Sauce cocktail. Bacon-infused Bulleit bourbon, apple schnapps, house-made sour ... I figured there was pretty much no way it could be good, but held out hope that somehow it would beat the odds to turn out to be delicious -- either way, it would make for good copy. But alas, though it's still on the online menu, that particular drink was not on the cocktail list when I went. So I had to settle for another meaty drink, the Smoked Bacon Old-Fashioned, also made with bacon-infused bourbon but with the addition of bitters, maple syrup, and a house-brandied cherry.
Now, to be clear, I have nothing against bacon itself. Thick-cut, a little crispy, it's a transcendent experience when done right. What I do have a problem with is the abuse of bacon that's gone on in recent years, the way everyone is putting bacon in places it doesn't belong. Such as my drink.
The first sip was all smoke and sweet and a not entirely pleasant meaty aftertaste. After the first sip I thought, "I don't want to finish this drink." But I stuck it out, and as the ice melted and I drank more, the flavors started coming together somewhat. The little bacon-strip garnish, though more flaccid than crispy, was a nice touch. By the end, the cocktail was downright drinkable -- not that I would ever order it again.
What I would order is a beer from the well-curated, California-heavy beer list; there were several intriguing microbrews on tap, and they switch things out every time they kick a keg. If I hadn't been meeting someone for dinner, I would have also ordered from the seasonally driven Southern menu, replete with tasty-looking shrimp & grits, pork chops, fried chicken, crawfish croquettes, and other American standards. Early on a weekday afternoon, the place was already hopping, maybe thanks to an early afternoon happy hour. Word is they also have a good brunch.
Hops & Hominy would be a great place to pop into during holiday shopping and regain your strength. Just avoid the bacon bourbon.