As summer makes its way ever closer to the Alamo City, the usual mid-week distractions are back — ranging from catching a San Antonio Missions game to squeezing into a biergarten or checking out a country act at the County Line during its Free Music Series.
The series returned to its Wednesday slot this past week with the Thieving Birds and Roadside Libby. Cocktails are new this year. Created by manager/pitmaster/chef and now mixologist Garrett Stephens, the list of drinks was enticing enough to head to County Line's I-10 location and take in a show.
Despite its name, the music series isn't actually free. Food or monetary donations to the San Antonio Food Bank are strongly suggested to get in. Armed with cans of spaghetti sauce, tuna and beans, we dropped off our goods, received a fun sticker and made our way to the tchotchke-filled bar.
I'm not going to pussyfoot around this: the spring and summer cocktails dip into silly territory. But while I would normally be turned off by the idea of an alcohol-filled sweet tea, County Line's patio calls for such kitsch. How else are you going to enjoy live music other than by sipping cool beers or overly fruity sangrias?
Cocktails run the gamut from a pit-smoked ice-laden Old Smokey (their take on an Old Fashioned), to blueberry mojitos to three versions of a Moscow Mule in the Mule Kick (Boris was filled with vodka, Cletus enjoyed Rebecca Creek Texas Whiskey and Pedro came in with Dulce Vida organic tequila). One can appreciate the nod to Texan spirits offered by the Austin-based chain.
While my partners enjoyed a Boris Mule Kick (be prepared to leave your ID as collateral for the copper mug) and an almost too sweet tropical white sangria with fresh lemon, lime, cherry, orange, peach and mango (not served in the advertised Mason jar, unfortunately), I committed to a Big BBQ Bloody.
Pardon the onslaught of adjectives, but this is the cocktail: "House cucumber/Meyer lemon infused Dripping Springs Vodka, Zing Zang Bloody Mary Mix, lime juice, olive brine, and a dash of the following, Tabasco sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and house BBQ bitters. Garnished with olives, a lemon wedge, a large celery stalk and a slice of brisket."
I'm a sucker for presentation, though, and when my Bloody hit the table in an opaque plastic cup, it lost a few wow-points ... quickly regained from its still-warm brisket chunk.
Though the weather kept us from confidently partaking in patio seating, the joint had plenty of ambiance. You need to bop along to some country, while decompressing on the tree-filled patio and taking care of your good deed for the day at The County Line.
The County Line
10101 I-10 W, (210) 641-1998, countyline.com, 1am-9pm Sun-Thu; 11am-10pm Fri-Sat