Confession? More than a month ago, when I first began Star City Sips — a quest to find the best and best-loved beverages in the ‘Noke — I wasn’t always sure where the journey would lead me.
In fact, there were some weeks when I wondered if I could come up with a drink that truly deserved the title “Star City Signature.”
But I *always* knew exactly where the journey would end — which was with “The Cube” — a blush-colored block of botanically-infused ice, melting slow and seductive into a glass of oh-so-Southern bourbon.
Lucky — the bar that birthed this applewood-smoked glass of deliciousness — is easily the top choice of cocktail-drinkers in the Valley. It’s garnered praise from far-flung visitors, critics from the likes of Southern Living and Garden & Gun — and yes, locals, too … whether they’re the youthful see-and-be-seen set, or the South Roanokers who can afford to dine on Lucky’s thoughtfully sourced French-American fare.
The praise is well-deserved. Stop by any night, and you’ve got *plenty* of creative drinks to choose from, whether you prefer something on the menu or something a little off the beaten path, like my personal favorite, a champagne-and-absinthe cocktail called Death in the Afternoon:
The magic of the concoction is its layered complexity, which develops slowly as the ice melts into the smoky glass, clinking and crackling as it goes.
There’s a certain amount of urban legend surrounding the actual ingredients — I’ve heard talk of everything from cayenne pepper to Chinese Five-Spice — but the generally accepted story is that this is made from juiced ginger root, fresh apples, cinnamon, cardamom, clove, hibiscus flower, juniper berries, vanilla beans, sea salt and sugar.
The slow-blooming drink encourages easy social sipping — the kind that lingers over hours, European-style — which should give you plenty of time to enjoy Lucky’s selection of Rappahannock River oysters, crispy buttermilk-fried chicken or even (every now and again) a very special plate of soft-shell crabs.
It’s a drink that’s both quintessentially Southern and unapologetically worldly, and I love that.
I have a feeling you will, too.
Raise a glass to the Star City’s best — cheers, Slickers! This one is right up your alley.
Lucky — a cozy French-American bar and restaurant — is located at 18 Kirk Avenue in Downtown Roanoke. Reservations are strongly recommended, either for dinner or for drinks at the bar … especially on weekends. Check out the constantly changing menu on the website, or follow the place on Facebook or Instagram to keep up with the latest drink offerings.
Dining with a friend who’d like to avoid alcohol? The bar staff is creative enough to handle special requests for virgin refreshers. Or cash in your drink money for dessert… The foie-gras creme brûlée is ultra-indulgent.