People in Texas feel pretty strongly about, well, stuff from Texas. And that goes double for Texas food. So you can be sure that the state’s most famous chef, who literally wrote the bible on the region’s cuisine, seriously knows his stuff. The James Beard Award-winning Dean Fearing has gained a reputation as the father of modern Southwestern cuisine, creating his signature style from the area’s many disparate influences. His dishes have been thrilling diners in Dallas for more than three decades, first at the over-the-top Mansion on Turtle Creek and since 2007 at his eponymous Fearing’s.
But food isn’t Fearing’s only interest. He’s into cowboy boots, famously rocking a pair of custom Luccheses in the kitchen and out. He’s also a collector of guitars and plays a vintage Fender Telecaster in The Barbwires, an all-chef alt-country band. And Fearing’s a cocktail fan, too, exploring Dallas’ extensive bar scene in search of both inspiration and tasty beverages.So where should you drink the next time you’re in the Big D? Here are Fearing’s current favorite cocktails in the city.
Seelbach at Parliament
The Seelbach is a modern creation named for a historic hotel in Louisville, Kentucky, and is a mix of bourbon, bitters and orange liqueur, which is topped with some Champagne. It’s one of the more than 100 drinks choices on the menu at Parliament, which range from old-school classics to molecular gastronomy-inspired futuristic creations. “I love this drink because it puts a light twist on the usual heavy-handed bourbon cocktail,” Fearing says.
Smoked Peach Thyme at Flora Street Cafe
Flora Street Cafe features both food and drinks created by chef Stephan Pyles, another influential Southwestern chef. As you might expect, the cocktails here highlight fresh produce and feature plenty of complex flavors, and the Smoked Peach Thyme is no exception. It contains, naturally, smoked Texas peaches and thyme, as well as rye whiskey and green tea-infused Lillet. “Anyone that knows me knows that I love to smoke any piece of food I can get my hands on, so I like to think Stephan created this drink just for me,” Fearing says. “When I sip this cocktail, I find it has the perfect combination of tart, sweet, fragrant and smoky.”
El Diablo at Rapscallion
Long a strip of loud, rowdy party bars and music venues, Lowest Greenville has classed up in recent years, welcoming spots like this elegant neighborhood joint and even a Trader Joe’s. Fearing comes to Rapscallion to indulge in the El Diablo. “Tequila might be my favorite liquor of them all,” he says. “Rapscallion’s El Diablo turns the Moscow Mule on its head by using tequila instead of vodka, and let me tell you, it is dangerous and delicious.” The deceptively simple drink melds tequila, tart and fruity creme de cassis, spicy ginger beer and lime.