WeHo, a New Gay Bar, Takes Over Lotus on Locust Space

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The future WeHo. | Nancy Stiles

Lotus on Locust closed a few months ago, though the cover-charging Pepper Lounge is still open next door. Come April, Lotus -- located at 2001 Locust -- will become WeHo (short for West Hollywood), a new gay bar.

See also: The Eight Best Gay Bars in St. Louis: 2013

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Iron Fork 2014 Cocktail Competition: Bartenders Battle for Supremacy

Categories: Booze, Iron Fork

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Taste's Kyle Mathis at Iron Fork 2013. | Jon Gitchoff

The central event at Iron Fork is the chef competition, but there's a cocktail competition, too. And the best part is, you get to try all the cocktails! Six bartenders will battle two at a time and make their cocktails in front of the judges, but there are also premade batches for guests.

See also: Iron Fork 2014: The Menu

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How to Make "Black Velvet," a Guinness-Based Cocktail, for St. Patrick's Day

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Our Black Velvet. | Nancy Stiles

St. Patrick's Day is Monday (with celebrations starting Saturday), and usually that means green beer for all. But the more we thought about it, we figured there had to be a better cocktail out there to celebrate the luck of the Irish. That's when we stumbled across a recipe so foul-sounding we figured it was probably fantastic.

See also: Gut Check Taste Test: Bud Light Mang-O-Rita and Raz-Ber-Rita

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Remy's Kitchen's "Kentucky Venetian" Makes Whiskey Accessible

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       The "Kentucky Venetian" at Remy's Kitchen. | Nancy Stiles

Happy Hump Day! Here's the cocktail that will get you through to Friday.

Remy's Kitchen & Wine Bar (222 South Bemiston Avenue, Clayton; 314-726-5757) offers a lot more than wine. Drinking is encouraged, though, by both the plethora of bottles behind the bar and the murals on the wall. "My only regret in life," reads one from John Maynard Keynes, "'is that I did not drink more Champagne." Sounds like pretty good advice. Bartender Matt DeVous offers us the "Kentucky Venetian," a cocktail perfect for this middling weather. It's got one foot in winter and one foot in spring.

See also: Chef's Choice: Lisa Slay, Remy's Kitchen & Wine Bar

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Gut Check Taste Test: Bud Light Mang-O-Rita and Raz-Ber-Rita

Categories: Booze

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       The lineup. | Nancy Stiles

Bud Light Lime debuted the newest flavors of its popular Lime-A-Rita malt beverage this week, and we tasted it so you don't have to. In addition to Lime-A-Rita and Straw-Ber-Rita, there is now Mang-O-Rita and Raz-Ber-Rita, which are mango and raspberry flavored, respectively. The carbonated alcoholic drinks are more appropriate for warm weather, but we're looking ahead with optimism.

See also: Bud Light Straw-Ber-Rita vs. Bud Light Lime-A-Rita: The Gut Check Taste Test

We valiantly taste tested the lime and strawberry flavors for y'all this time last year, and we're here for you again. As usual, our tasting panel had some vocal opinions.

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January 11 is National Hot Toddy Day

Categories: Booze

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       We're feeling warm already. | Jazz Guy

If there's one cocktail worth celebrating in this weather, it's the hot toddy. It will make you feel better if you're sick, cold or just want a drink. And here's an excuse to drink one: January 11 is National Hot Toddy Day. There are several versions of the drink, so you can make it as strong or sweet as you like. The traditional Scottish preparation is just whiskey, boiling water, and sugar or honey (we prefer honey). The Irish make it with Irish whiskey, brown sugar, lemon, cloves and hot water. It's also common to mix it with tea instead of just hot water -- try lemon tea, honey and whiskey if you're at home. If you want to venture out, check out some of our favorite hot toddies and where to get them.

See also: Best Places to Get Hot Chocolate in St. Louis

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Gut Check's Three Favorite Cocktails of 2013

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       Olio's transcendent "Emerson." | Zach Garrison

It's a tough job, but, somehow, we managed to try enough cocktails to pick out three of our favorite for 2013. It's been a banner year for fancy drinks in St. Louis -- just about every week a new whiskey or cocktail bar opened up. Mixologists are now veritable artists, crafting custom drinks and inventing crazy concoctions on the spot. Across the board, the bar has been raised -- and we couldn't be happier.

See also:
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Still630 Distills Whiskey in Downtown St. Louis


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Still630 Distills Whiskey in Downtown St. Louis

Categories: Booze

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       A bottle of Still630's "Rally Point." | Zach Garrison

Though chances are you didn't realize it, there sits a distillery in downtown St. Louis. Just a few blocks away from Busch Stadium, Still630 (1000 S. 4th Street) (the name derives from the date of company's founding, the serial number of the main still and the height and width of the arch) resides in a former Hardees. The building looks a bit worn-out, and if not for a small sign out front, you'd probably drive right by it. But it's what's on the inside that counts, right? That's Gut Check's motto. As it turns out, David Weglarz, sole owner and employee, has put together quite the operation. All remnants of a fast-food chain have been erased, replaced by barrels of whiskey, stacked high, full bottles awaiting labels, and a giant metal still, custom made.

See also:
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First Look: Station House Serves Up Local Brews and Civic Pride

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Sanctuaria Creates Three Winter Cocktails to Get You Through The Holidays

Categories: Booze

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        Three experimental drinks via Sanctuaria. | Zach Garrison

It's the holiday season and temperatures are dropping, which means it's time for winter cocktails. We had the good fortune of stopping by Sanctuaria (4198 Manchester Avenue; 314-535-9700) right as the bar tending crew began experimenting with new drinks. They needed a guinea pig, and we were happy to oblige. In the end we chose three delicious drinks that represent the flavors of winter: spice, heat and smoke. All three are incredibly warm -- not the burning, chest pain inducing stuff, just a pleasant feeling that induces a smile. Try your hand at mixing up one of these concoctions at home, or stop by Sanctuaria -- we're hoping these cocktails make the final cut and show up on the new menu.

See also:
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Juniper's "Mississippi Punch" is a True Southerner's Drink


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The Whiskey Ring Now Open on Cherokee Street

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       Whiskey bars are all the rage. | Joshua Rappeneker

Move over, Maplewood and the Central West End -- there's another whiskey bar in town. After a weekend of soft openings, The Whiskey Ring opens Tuesday afternoon, December 17, at 2651 Cherokee Street. Former Off Broadway bartenders Jason Matthews and John Joern found the space a few months ago through a friend.

See also: Gamlin Whiskey House Debuts Whiskey Sommelier and Tastings in Central West End

"I don't know if I had it filed under pipe dream or long-term dream, but it was always there," Joern tells Gut Check of their idea to open a bar together. "We always knew we could do something like that but the timing was the thing. We didn't know it would fall into our lap like that. We just mustered everything we had and put it together."

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