Dayton does a lot of things well. We sell out baseball games like it’s a hobby. We collect gems (not really). We take our bike paths very seriously. But one thing that we do extremely well is make drinks. Not just our delicious craft beer, but also mixed drinks.
Join me as I take you on my journey of the first time I tasted my Favorite Dayton Drink.
It was warm outside, nearing the end of May. Crisp rays of sunshine glided down from the sky to reach my sunkissed skin as I strolled through the Oregon District. To my right I passed Toxic, Hole in the Wall, and Ned’s while on my left Trolley, Lucky’s and Tumbleweed met my gaze and soon ended with a view of the back of my head. I had a thirst that could only be quenched by the perfect drink, and that drink was yet to be determined.
I continued down my journey of Fifth Street and arrived at a place called Lily’s Bistro. Wire framed tables and chrome covered chairs were scattered throughout their side and front patios. Its front windows and two doors leading into the bar area and dining room made for a picture of distinguished grace.
I pushed open the front door to lead me on to the next phase of my adventure, but my heart skipped a beat. The door did not budge. I tried with both hands, and again was met with no movement. I frantically ran to the other door, only to experience the same result. My heart began to fold and crush into itself. My soul felt the connection from the sidewalk, and now it was lost, much like a puppy in a big, new, scary city. Alas, I looked at my watch and realized I was 30 minutes away from opening. My wait begins.
What sitcoms do within this time frame I turn into an eternity due to my unquenchable thirst. The hands on my watch move with sloth-like characteristics, but finally arrive at their destination along with me at mine. The doors unlock and I burst through as if a child born into the world screaming for the love and affection it so desperately needs.
I locate myself to the bar and a chair nestled within the corner. String art spelling out “cocktails” ensures that I am in the right place. I am greeted by Amber, who asks how I am doing. She is met with a quick reply of “thirsty.” I asked if they had any specials, and with a smile reaching ear to ear, she began to tell me the tale of The Muses.
“The Muses cocktail is made from two ounces 100-proof Junior Johnson strawberry moonshine…” I stop her, and with hushed voice exclaim, “you had me at moonshine.” She begins her craft and delivers a show that will never be forgotten. Forging care and craftswomanship into each pour and dash, prevailed through its glowing appeal.
The drink was then placed in front of me with two words: “prepare yourself.” Looking back, I wish I would have heeded her warning. Moving the straw to the right side of the glass, coupled under my right index finger I moved the glass towards my lips. The aroma of sliced cucumber engulfed my sense of smell while the cucumber puree danced with my sense of taste.
The first splash cascaded down the back of my throat and my stomach was filled with ecstasy. One soft tear dribbled down my right check as I reached a state of nirvana that even the 14th Dalai Lama has yet to reach. My thirst had been quenched, and was quenched by a second and third Muses to follow.
The full recipe of The Muses consists of:
2 ounces 100 proof Junior Johnson strawberry moonshine
a squeeze of fresh cucumber purée
topped off with soda water
garnished with a cucumber slice
It’s named for a parade during Mardi Gras, and inspired by drinking a whole lot of strawberry moonshine during Emily Mendenhall’s first Muses parade.
Do yourself a favor, Dayton. Take 15 minutes to experience heaven on Earth. This is a seasonal spring and summertime drink, so be sure to get it while it is here.