The Hay Merchant Rolls Out Its New Cocktail Program; Underbelly Soon To Follow

Remember when we reported on changes at Underbelly and The Hay Merchant, including forthcoming cocktail programs at each? That was back in June and the anticipated rollout at the time was July. Well, as any bar or restaurant owner knows, the wheels at the City of Houston permitting department sometimes roll slower than expected. The good news is that the cocktail list at The Hay Merchant debuts today, and Underbelly’s will debut on September 4.

The cocktail selections at both were developed by spirits director Westin Galleymore. At The Hay Merchant, drinks fall into three categories: on tap, stirred and frozen. There are two in that last category: a smoky riff on classic cocktail The Last Word thanks to the addition of mezcal and an icy, angostura-driven Trinidad Sour.

Fighting The Bees cocktail at The Hay Merchant
Those who prefer their cocktails light and lovely should check out Fighting The Bees, featuring honeysuckle-infused vodka, lemon and lavender honey. Photo by Julie Soefer.

Eight cocktails are on tap—a setup that will be a boon to customers of a busy bar, as these drinks can be served quickly. One, the Green Geisha, is served on nitro. Expect this blend of gin, lime and matcha tea to have an extra-creamy mouthfeel thanks to tiny bubbles contributed by infusing of nitrogen gas as it is poured.

Westin Galleymore
Spirits director Westin Galleymore of Underbelly, The Hay Merchant and One Fifth. Photo by Julie Soefer

Another summery option is Fighting The Bees, a “light, short and refreshing” drink garnished with honeycomb and featuring honeysuckle-infused vodka, lemon and lavender honey.

On the boozy and spirit-forward side is Fourth Regiment, a mix of rye whiskey, sweet vermouth, celery bitters and Peychauds bitters. Speaking of bitter, those especially fond of that flavor might consider whether they’re cool enough for the Hipster Juice, made with tré trendy Campari, Fernet Branca, the famously divisive Malort (you’ll either love it or hate it with a passion) and lime cordial.

There are two stirred cocktails as well: perpetual favorites the Old Fashioned and the Manhattan. The Hay Merchant’s full cocktail list is available on their website. For happy hour, The Hay Merchant is keeping its 30 Beers for $3 program but has also added a $5 beer-and-a-shot special.

We’ll take an in-depth look at Underbelly’s new cocktail program when it debuts on September 4.

Correction note: We stated that Galleymore also oversees the bar program at One Fifth and have been informed that Eli Beckmann actually is in charge of it. We apologize for the error.

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