Cocktail Culture Hits the Worthington Hills

Cocktail Culture Hits the Worthington Hills

A good country club bar is many things. It is a place to go to see friends. It is a place for swift, attentive, personalized service from people who know you on sight. It’s a place for reasonable drinks at reasonable prices. At least a good country club bar is all that. If you belong to a country club, and the bar is missing even one of these elements, get a new club. The bar at my club on the north side of Columbus, Ohio, Worthington Hills Country Club, is all of these things in spades.
Country club bars are also usually do not offer certain things. Chief among them is anything like high-end mixology. They aren’t the place to find original drinks, the bitters bottle usually has a splash of dust on it, and an Aviation is something the richer members do in their Cessnas. Over the years, the bar staff at the Hills has made some great strides in breaking out of this mold. Of course, you can safely order and get a Pegu there (I am a member, after all), and you can also get a decent Moscow Mule. And they have real lemon and lime juices to make drinks with, not just an endless supply of Finest Call Sour Mix to use for anything citrusy. My point is that I am lucky in the watering hole I frequent most. They are a cocktailian cut above country clubs just about everywhere.
But this May, they are making me swoon. Every month, they do a promotional cocktail, for which they bring in any needed special ingredients and stock up on fruit or whatever for garnishes that go the extra mile. Most of them haven’t been my cup of tea, but the effort and attention to detail is much appreciated….

Here’s your Mai Tai, Mrs. Calvert.

But this month, the Cocktail of the Month is the MaiTai. A real MaiTai. As in Trader Vic’s original 1940-something masterpiece (minus the original $50,000 a bottle rum). As in not that sweet mess you get virtually everywhere these days, if quixotically order one up. I’m betting the Hills is the only bar in Columbus with a bottle of oregeat behind the mahogany. If I’m wrong, I really want to know where it is! And they garnish it with a luxurious stem of Kentucky Colonel mint that I’ve now discovered really adds more than just pretty to the drink’s enjoyability. Never again will I garnish my MaiTais with lime!
Ditch the straw, people. It just takes away from the fragrance of the mint.
For those of you among my readers who are members, make sure you try a real MaiTai next time you hit the bar. This is a special cocktail, folks. If you live in Columbus and aren’t a member at the Worthington Hills, well, neener, neener. Or give me a call. I’ll get you in long enough to see what you’ve missing ’till now.
Now, it’s true that some of the upgrades in mixology have been in response to prodding from some damn cocktail geek who is there more than is good for him…

I wonder who that could be!

Sure, I’ve pushed some recipes into their repertoire by ordering them over and over, and getting others to order them. But I also want to say that a lot of the improvement in available ingredients is due to the fine efforts of our new head bartender, Tony Baker. (For you members, that’s Bald Tony, as opposed to Big Tony. I’m not saying Big Tony isn’t going bald, and Bald Tony isn’t big, just that Tony Myers is bigger than Tony Baker, and Tony Baker is much balder than Tony Myers….) Thanks, Tony! Keep up the good fight!


  1. David Bartell

    22 September

    I miss the Kahiki Supper Club in Columbus! They had orgeat, I’m sure, not to mention the Mystery Girl.

    I planted mint in my wife’s garden, just for Mai Tais, and it’s taken over. Luckily, she likes the garnish as well.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  2. Doug

    22 September

    I cannot second Dave’s warning enough.
    Mint is a marvelous thing for a cocktailian, especially a Tiki-phile, to have in his garden.
    But plant the stuff well away from anything you don’t want invaded. It self-seeds like mad, and is Roundup resistant.
    But delicious.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

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