Justin's Sweet Tea

Sweeter than honey, Zio Romolo's Alley Bar is an absolute beehive of activity. Named after Tony Pasquini's favorite uncle, it's tucked beside the Pasquini's location in Highland and is surprisingly comfortable, particularly considering this spot was once a working alleyway. The small space features a tin ceiling, an original Coca-Cola ad painted on a brick wall in the '40s and an old-timey cash register. A big, beautiful art-deco bar takes up most of the room, leaving just bar stools and a small walkway for patrons -- which encourages social interaction. So does Jaci, the bar manager and queen bee who's formerly of Jax and legendary for her spunk. She told me how she makes the Jell-O shots, enlisting her daughter to help with the work, and I started with a delicious Margarita Jell-O Shot ($2), complete with a salted rim. Although Jaci said the shots were half Cuervo tequila and Triple Sec, I could taste virtually no alcohol, which is the hallmark of a good Jell-O shot. Then Jaci gave me a brand-new cocktail, Justin's Sweet Tea ($6), named for her bartender – a honey who attracts much of the bar's female crowd. Made with Wild Turkey American Honey, freshly brewed iced tea and simple syrup, Justin's Sweet Tea is my new favorite summer cocktail. I tried the Wild Turkey American Honey on its own and had dreadful flashbacks of Southern Comfort, but combined with the iced tea, the liquor has a nice honey nose and bourbon taste. But be careful: Too many of these and you could get stung!

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Nancy Levine
Contact: Nancy Levine