Louisiana-raised chef Kelly English's St. Louis outpost, Kelly English Steakhouse (777 Casino Center Drive, Maryland Heights; 314-770-8100), is known for numerous Southern and Creole touches accompanying the seafood- and steak-centric menu. Because it's hot outside, we wanted to cool down out at the Hollywood Casino (where the restaurant is located) over one of the bar's original cocktails: the "Southern Belle."
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"Our manager Mel came up with all the drinks," bartender Melissa Dunn says. "It's something refreshing and something tasty for everybody."
The base liquor for the cocktail is a sweet tea vodka (Jeremiah is a popular brand). Although we're not super-enthralled with vodkas, the deceptive taste of the sweet tea-infused variety has us hook, line and sinker.
"I like [sweet tea vodka] because it's nice and sweet," Dunn says. "Pretty much anybody can drink it and like it. Even if you don't like the taste of iced tea, it's a nice liquor to put in anything."
The sweet tea vodka and lemonade in the cocktail reminds us of an Arnold Palmer, while the strawberry purée makes an already thirst-quenching adult beverage much brighter.
What would a classy Southern belle snack on while drinking the "Southern Belle"? Dunn suggests keeping it light.
"We have a lot of good appetizers that would go well with it," she says. "Our 'Lobster Knuckle Sandwich,' which is our signature appetizer, or the 'Gulf Seafood,' which is crab cakes and shrimp."
Click through for the recipe.
1.25 oz Jeremiah Sweet Tea Vodka 1 oz strawberry puree 2 oz lemonade
Shake ingredients together with ice. Strain over ice. Garnish with lemon.
Wednesday. Hump Day. Congrats, you've made it halfway through the work week! Unfortunately, you still have two days to go. Dunno about you, but in order to survive the midweek blues, we're going to need a drink. Which brings us to our Wednesday Gut Check feature: "Gut Check's Hump-Day Cocktail Suggestion." Each week we take you to one of our favorite St. Louis bars (and, oh, the list is long) for a drink (or two) we -- in consultation with the bartender -- highly recommend.
Gut Check is always hungry for tips. Email us!