"People aren't expecting a barbecue place to have a full-blown beverage program," says co-owner Albert Greenwood of his second restaurant, Bull & Swine in New Haven. The goal is to present an authentic, classic smokehouse paired with the mixology prowess that's the hallmark of its sibling: Oak Haven Table & Bar.
Bull & Swine, which opened on State Street in July, complements its smoked meats with Southern-style drinks. A bourbon sweet tea ($7) with Wild Turkey, Deep Eddy lemon- and sweet tea-flavored vodkas is a top seller, so much so that it's served on draft and available by the pitcher for $27. The sweet yet dangerous "Barnyard Twister," ($9; $33 for a pitcher) a take on a New Orleans-style Hurricane, blends white and black strap rums with passion fruit, lime, orange juice and grenadine.
The Cajun lemonade ($8/$30) unites Pimm's No. 1 with chili pepper-infused Deep Eddy vodka and lemon juice. "Pimm's has all these beautiful spices in it already," Greenwood said of the harmonizing flavors. The drink "has little bit of a kick to it but the Pimm's just really rounds it out."
A "Bless Your Little Heart" gin creation ($9) – named for a Southern saying that's not nearly as nice or well-intended as it sounds – gets a tropical twist with orgeat syrup, dry curacao and lime, finished with fresh basil and prosecco. The smoked watermelon fresca with Corralejo silver tequila and Xicaru mezcal is sweetened with watermelon juice ("What's a barbecue without watermelon?" Greenwood said) and gets a "little bit of mint and tonic water to open it up, make it effervescent."
The Beale Street cocktail ($9,) paying homage to the iconic Memphis address, starts with a base of James E. Pepper rye, ginger liqueur, cucumber syrup, lemon and a Connecticut twist – the addition of New England Brewing Company's Sea Hag IPA.
Bull & Swine's co-owner Craig Hotchkiss, a sommelier, chose wines carefully to highlight the casual nature of the menu: a streamlined list with nontraditional reds, whites and rosé, including Underwood's canned pinot noir and pinot gris. Eight draft beers rotate frequently, along with cans and bottles ranging from local craft options to Corona, Miller High Life and spiked seltzers. "We are still trying to keep it like a backyard barbecue," Greenwood said.
Read more about Bull & Swine's menu options here.
Bull & Swine, 969 State St., New Haven, is open Tuesday through Thursday, 5 to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, noon to 10 p.m., and Sunday, 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. 203-915-6806, bullswine.com.