Don't let the "brasserie" portion of the name fool you; the cuisine at Bluestem is all American. Named after the preferred grazing grass of cattle ranchers, the focus of the restaurant is decidedly on beef, with marrow, steaks, and tartar showcased on the menu. The bar incorporates a few of these Americana twists as well, like the viral-video namesake, Honey Badger ($11, Maker's Mark Bourbon, honey whiskey liqueur, lemon, BBQ water).
A drink built around a whiskey sour with the inclusion of barbecue sauce and spiced rim sounds more nastyass than badass, but owners Adam and Stacy Jed's attempt to recreate the flavors of an American cookout with bourbon work. The Hoegaarden foam "stripe" like the animal adds some texture more than flavor.
Thankfully the drink doesn't taste like having a glassful of barbecue sauce, but has a slight smokiness and bite from the chilies in the spice rim. It may not be a new drink, but it's a really good one, especially when paired with what could be my favorite new bar snack: the fried cauliflower ($6, cauliflower, chili, lemon, parmesan).
The poached florets get a quick fry, just long enough to caramelize them, but not make them crisp. Lemon juice, chili flakes, and parmesan add some liveliness to turn a rather meek vegetable into something ferocious enough to take on the Honey Badger cocktail.
The flavors overlap just enough to compliment, and provide a salty snack to enjoy more than one or three, because the honey badger doesn't give a shit, it just does what it wants.
1 ½ oz. Maker's Mark Bourbon
¾ oz. Wild Turkey Honey Whiskey Liqueur
½ oz Lemon juice
3 Dashes BBQ water (thinned out barbecue sauce)
BBQ salt rim
Combine bourbon, honey liqueur, lemon juice, and BBQ water in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a martini glass with BBQ salt rim. Garnish with stripe of Hoegaarden foam.
Bluestem Brasserie, 1 Yerba Buena, 547-1111