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Issue Date: October 2011


Best of Cleveland 2011: Drink

Ice Cream Soda


Sweet Shots


Slap Shot

If you think Jack Daniel's packs a punch, you haven't ordered the slap shot, the ultimate punishment on the Garage Bar's drink menu: a shot of your choice and a slap across the face. Invented in 2007 as part of the bar's efforts to create a truly innovative shot list, it became popular with guys who enjoyed even rough attention from the female bartenders, and it caught on with members of the Burning River Roller Girls, who are used to thinking of harsh physical contact as sport. A hit with bachelor, bachelorette and birthday parties — and at goodbye happy hours for Cleveland Magazine staffers leaving the company — it's become a rite of passage, an invigorating slap out of a comfort zone. 1859 W. 25th St., Cleveland, 216-696-7772, thegaragebar.net



Specialty Bloody Marys


Beer Cocktail

Ohio City's West 25th Street is a tough place for the non-beer-drinker. It's not that bars here don't serve liquor and wine, but in an area anchored by Great Lakes Brewing Co., Bier Markt and now Market Garden Brewery & Distillery, downing anything besides beer just feels wrong, almost embarrassing. But Market Garden meets picky drinkers halfway with its Shoreway Cooler beer cocktail ($8), an approachable combo of house-made honey gin (from owner Sam McNulty's Speakeasy), lillet blanc, simple syrup, lemon juice and a top-off of the brewery's Old-School American Lager. "It's a true take on a shandy," says bar chef Matthew Stipe. "We wanted to add a much more artisinal craft to it." The refreshing, sweet lemon flavor doesn't overpower the lager, which will win over even the most resolute beer resisters. "One of our messages is the versatility of beer," Stipe says. "It's a way a lot of people might not have experienced beer before." 1947 W. 25th St., Cleveland, 216-621-4000, marketgardenbrewery.com



Coffee

Leave the sugar and cream alone. Erie Island Coffee's Island Signature Blend doesn't need it. "You can drink it black, and it still leaves a delicious, dessert feeling in your mouth," says Annalie Glazen, owner and founding partner. The smoky, sweet taste that Glazen equates to cozying up to the fire is no accident. Glazen and the three other founding partners spent four months working with Brecksville-based Caruso's Coffee to hand-select beans that work together to make a perfectly balanced brew: Sumatran (adds creamy cocoa notes), monsoon Malabar (low acidity), Columbian Viennese (dark, campfire taste) and Costa Rican (balances coffee with clean, fruit notes). The founders even selected the farms where the beans come from; the latter is harvested by a farm run by South American women who have escaped unfortunate situations. Caruso's Coffee roasts each type of bean separately to maintain peak flavor and then sends it to Erie Island. If you stop in for a quick sip, don't be surprised if baristas will encourage you to order your brew in a ceramic mug. "It makes our guests stop and enjoy themselves," Glazen says. 2057 E. Fourth St., Cleveland, 216-394-0093; 19292 Detroit Ave., Rocky River, 440-333-3333, erieislandcoffee.com




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