Sunday, November 25, 2012

[Real Detroit Weekly] Six Drink Slam: Imperial

Ring of Fire. Photo by Nicole Rupersburg.

Imperial, the L.A. hipster crustpunk biker rockabilly whisky bar and taco shack in Ferndale, is pretty much one of our new favorite places ever. Tacos? Good. Beer? Good. Booze? GOOD. To prepare for this round of Six Drink Slam, we laid down a basecoat of their house-made biscuits and chorizo gravy during their recently-launched Sunday brunch. What's that you say about Sunday Funday? We bet ours was funner than yours.

Uno Mas
"Uno mas" means "one more" in Spanish, and is the thing to say when you're at the bar and your friends are trying to drag you out or you're trying to convince yourself to leave because it's Tuesday and you still have to work the next three mornings. "Uno mas!" When you make that "just one more" promise to yourself, all is well in the world and time has no meaning and morning won't come early. This is that in drink form. Made with reposado tequila, cucumber, agave, Cointreau and lime, this one makes it easy to get a case of the just-one-mores.

Ring of Fire
Johnny Cash is something of a mascot at Imperial. Johnny Cash wrote a song called "Ring of Fire." "Ring of Fire" was used in a hemorrhoid commercial. Do you see where I'm going with this? "I'm afraid that drink is going to rip me a new hole," commented a co-slammer. He wasn't wrong, but we took one for the RDW team so that we could have money to buy some of that really nice, soft Charmin toilet paper with the aloe vera lotion. Imperial's Ring of Fire is made with their house-made habanero-orange infused tequila and grapefruit. In case you're not good with analogies, it's fairly fucking spicy.

Lavender Sidecar
Ooooh, bourbon! That's a good thing to chase habanero tequila with. As much as Imperial has that whole Mexi-Cali thing going on and so far we've been all about tequila, their L.A. rockabilly hipster roots are on display with their equally impressive selection of brown liquors. The Lavender Sidecar is made with bourbon, beautiful bourbon, Cointreau, house lavender honey syrup, and lemon. It tastes like tea! But with BOURBON.

Sunset Strip
Going a little off-menu, co-owner Jeff King brought us a Sunset Strip, one of their fall special drinks made with Limoncello, hard cider and house saffron syrup. Another co-slammer laid claim to this one pretty quickly, sucking it down while forcing the rest of us to soldier through the Ring of Fire offset by the Lavendar Sidecar. "It's light and refreshing and tastes like lemonade!" Asshole.

Pucker up for a kiss from lady Louisa! Which is more like a punch. That you don't even realize happened until it's too late. This is the one vodka drink on their menu and is made with their house-infused rosemary mango vodka, St. Germaine and lemon. Served in a martini glass, it certainly LOOKS the most foo-foo of the bunch. But vodka is just as strong as bourbon and this thing is straight booze. Actually, pretty much all of these are straight booze. "These are all, like, REALLY strong," observed a cohort. Indeed.

Detroit Tart
Made with silver tequila, tart cherry juice and lime with a sugar salt rim, it's hard to say what might be distinctly "Detroit" about this, but it's delicious so why quibble. For the record, THIS is the most foo-foo drink on the menu. Which should really just go to show you that there really aren't any foo-foo drinks here. Imperial is a place for drinking professionals.

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