Home Team BBQ: The Happiest Hour Around Town
We made it! You got past PART 1: THE LOCATION and PART 2: THE FOOD. Hopefully you’ve had as much fun reading about the new Home Team BBQ as I did documenting almost every aspect of what they have to offer. I say ‘almost’ because I saved my favorite of the bunch, THE COCKTAILS. If you’ve followed along Holy City Handcraft on Instagram, you know probably could have guessed that. I had a great time chatting it up and nerding out with Home Team BBQ’s Beverage Director, Adam Rothstein. A New York native, Rothstein fell in love with Charleston’s thriving hospitality and culinary community on a visit in 2012. He moved to Charleston in December of 2015 and has not looked back since. Rothstein has over 15 years of experience in the industry and will helm the bar and beverage programs at all the Home Team Locations.
“Our bar program downtown was developed to reflect our culinary values regarding seasonality and locality, while maintaining and building on the fun atmosphere Home Team has cultivated over the past 10 years. We aim for our cocktail program to exist as a welcome addition to all the facets of the bar that our clientele has come to love without any wholesale changes. “
– Adam Rothstein, Home Team BBQ
The Frozen Cocktails
The Game Changer ($7 / $9)
I figured we should start with arguably the most well-known cocktail in Charleston. Originally dubbed ‘The Painkiller’, this frozen treat has been a favorite among the Sullivan’s Island beachgoers since the conception of this drink. A mix of Gold Caribbean Rum, Spiced Caribbean Rum, orange juice, pineapple juice, cream of coconut and a dash of fresh grated nutmeg. It’s a crowd favorite for a reason, it’s exactly what you need on those hot and humid Charleston days the locals are ever so accustomed to. This drink is a MUST TRY… Oh, and do yourself a favor and order one with a Grand Mariner floater, thank me later.
Frozen Irish Coffee ($8 / $12)
Looking for a pick-me-up? Look no further than the Frozen Irish Coffee containing Tullamore Dew, Hoodoo, Vietnamese style iced coffee and topped cocoa nib salt. Its better than any frozen frappucino you’ll find at any coffee shop. Don’t believe me? Did you miss the part where it has Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey in it? You won’t regret this once, especially on a hot, humid Charleston afternoon.
An American In Milan ($12)
The last of the frozen cocktails on this list just happens to be one of my favorites out of the bunch. Of course, I’m a little biased when it comes to cocktails that are inspired by something that rhymes with ‘Megroni’. This particular variation is a Frozen Negroni, that’s right… FROZEN. It’s then finished with an upside-down Miller High Life Pony right in the glass and topped with grated orange zest. It’s so wrong… but so so right, this is another MUST TRY.
“The American in Milan is my homage to the shift drink of choice of a good friend and mentor who I worked with in New York at several restaurants. It was a Negroni fueled time in our lives, and he took to topping his off with Pacifico, creating a sort of fully charged Negroni Sbagliato. Its delicious, especially after a long shift, and naturally became something of a habit when in proximity to both a Negroni and a beer, which is my natural habitat. We happened to be discussing frozen cocktail options over Negronis and a bucket of mini Miller High Lifes during the opening of Home Team Downtown, and the idea to do a frozen version came to be. Its our answer to the frozen margarita/Coronita idea, sort of a kitschy bastardization of the cocktail in much the same way. We’ll rotate through some other classic cocktails variations using the frozen machines, we’ve talked about doing a frozen Pimm’s Cup this Summer and some other ideas as well.”
Light and Refreshing Cocktails
Two Tickets To The Shogun ($12)
Made with Ford’s Gin, Basil, Matcha, Cucumber Juice and Celery Bitters. This cocktail is as gorgeous as it is refreshing, it has a beautiful cucumber ribbon wrapping the interior of the Collins glass with that subtle touch of green tea, which plays well with the gin and celery bitters.
“Two Tickets to The Shogun is about getting as many refreshing ingredients into a drink as we can. We cold press cucumber juice, and make a matcha basil syrup to pair with london dry gin, fresh lime, and dry vermouth. Working with basil in cocktails can be difficult because of its propensity to oxidize or wilt, especially in a syrup. We wanted the drink to have a bright green color and be visually pleasing, so we make the syrup using a basil compound sugar which I stole from an ice cream recipe, and then make a cold process simple syrup using strongly brewed matcha tea. The result is a syrup that has both notes of fresh basil and the grassiness of matcha, and a beautiful jade green color. We dry the drink out with a few dashes of celery bitters and serve it garnished with a cucumber ribbon for added refreshment.”
White Sangria ($8 / $30)
Here’s one from the Specials menu, its pretty and they give you a hefty pour, it would make for an epic brunch libation. Order a whole pitcher for the table and enjoy with friends!
Slanted Porch Shandy ($8)
If you’re looking for something a little lighter than the ‘Two Tickets to the Shogun’ cocktail, this is your best bet. Its made with Aperol, Cucumber and Citrus salt, then topped with Westbrook Brewing Co’s White Thai, a lemon-grass and ginger inspired wheat beer. Its light and refreshing and I guarantee you can’t have just one. We’ve also tried subbing the White Thai with Coast Brewery’s Kolsch and it was just as refreshing.
“The Slanted Porch Shandy was designed with patio drinking in mind. We pair Westbrook White Thai with Aperol, cucumber, a dash of lemon and a pinch of salt to pair with the lemongrass and ginger aspects of the White Thai. Its all about low-proof refreshment, and perfect for session drinking on a hot day, ideally on our patio.”
The Chamom’Mule ($12)
Made with Dixie Vodka, Chamomile Honey, Yuzu, Ginger Beer and Hopped Grapefruit bitters. This take on a traditional Moscow Mule is a great starter cocktail for those not feeling too adventurous. Its bright, spicy and brings a unique acidity from the Yuzu.
Unique [and Crafty] Cocktails
Home Team Michelada ($6)
I didn’t know whether to file this under ‘Light and Refreshing’ or ‘Unique and Crafty’ – I think it’s a bit of both. Its made with Coors Banquet, Natural Blonde Bloody Mary Mix, Home Team Pepper Vinegar, HT Hot Sauce, Rub Salt and Lime juice. I won’t lie, as ‘simple’ as this cocktail is, it may be in my top 5 of the bunch. Its unlike any Michelada I’ve ever had, the HT sauces really put this one over the edge of being one seriously addicting beach cocktail. Hey Adam or Aaron, if you’re reading this, if a bottle of HT Hot Sauce goes missing… it wasn’t me 😉
The Market Daiquiri (This Season: Pickled Peach) ($10)
This one was my fiancé’s favorite of the bunch. Made with pickled local peaches sourced by GrowFood Carolina and made with Plantation 3 Star Rum, Ginger, Vanilla and Lime juice. It is currently just a special, but we hope it can eventually become a regular on the cocktail menu.
“The Peach Daiquiri is our current Market Daiquiri, and we rotate the fruit with seasonal availability. Its sort of take the idea of the artificial fruit daiquiri everyone thinks of, but we do a fresh, clean version using the best produce available locally. Its a partnership of sorts with GrowFood Carolina.”
Rub Is A Battlefield ($12)
This one is very unique, it contains Ilegal Mescal, Altos Reposado, Rub Infused Agave, Fresh Pineapple and Lime. All contained in a rocks glass rimmed with an agave version of the Home Team BBQ’s rub. Its the perfect balance of sweet, salty and smokey. The mezcal and reposado plays on the smokiness of the rub, making for a one-of-a-kind cocktail.
“Rub is a Battlefield was born out of a desire to echo our culinary core in a drink. We infuse agave nectar with black pepper and chile powder in the same ratio as our house rub, which is comprised of sugar, salt, chile powder, and black pepper. The agave takes the place of the sugar, and we rim the glass with a citrus salt to echo that component. We build the cocktail with Ilegal Mezcal, which has a subtle smoke, and embellish it with Reposado Tequila and fresh pineapple juice to balance. Its our margarita, and has been one of our most popular cocktails since we opened.”
This Little Piggy ($12)
Home Team Bacon Washed Mellow Corn Whiskey, Smoked Maple Syrup and Ancho — Whiskey + Bacon + Maple… whats not to like here? Its like breakfast in a cocktail. This cocktail is unique in that the Mellow Corn is fat washed (infused via bacon fat) using Home Team’s house smoked bacon. Its definitely for the adventurous libationist, its another cocktail that will pair well with your BBQ.
“This Little Piggy is perhaps the most straightforward example of our culinary and cocktail worlds colliding. We make fantastic bacon at Home Team, and it seemed weird not to put it in a cocktail. We wanted to play on a bacon and cornbread flavor profile, so we render our house made bacon and fat wash Mellow Corn whiskey. The higher proof of the Mellow Corn (50% ABV) creates a great balance between the fat of the bacon and the heat of the booze, and allows us to balance the cocktail with smoked maple syrup and Ancho Reyes without it becoming too thick.”
As The Crow Flies ($12)
Rittenhouse Rye, Corsair Triple Smoke Whiskey, Carpano Antica, Madeira, Cacao, Jamaica Bitters and Smoked Luxardo Maraschino cherries. If I had to describe this cocktail in one word, it would be SMOKEY. Not in an overpowering way, its got a smooth, rich body that would pair well with the BBQ on the menu. Make sure to try the house-smoked cherries too, they’re first smoked with the same red oak Home Team uses on the BBQ then left to soak in their original brandied syrup AND mezcal… they’re smokey and sweet, you can’t go wrong with that combo.
“The inspiration was to take a Manhattan and inflect it with some slightly Caribbean/Charlestonian notes, like the Madeira and the Cacao. Take the signature drink of my home town [The Manhattan] and twist it with some early Charleston influences. The name comes from the straight line, “as the crow flies” between New York City and Charleston”
How did I consume all these cocktails you say? Easily, when paired with the Pork Cracklins with Pimento Cheese appetizer and about a dozen of Home Team Smoked Wings. Rothstein clearly knows what he’s doing, catering to the traditional Home Team patron and their Game Changer addiction, to serving up his twist on some classics like the Sangria, Michelada and Negroni. The area in which Rothstein really shines is the unique craft cocktails he’s developed. With daring cocktails such ‘Rub is a Battlefield’ and ‘As the Crow Flies’, he not only flexes his mixology-muscles but he also creates a set of cocktails that would pair perfectly with Home Team’s smoked faire. Think about this, craft cocktails paired with traditional southern barbecue… its unheard of… until now. Huge props to Siegel, Rothstein and his team for creating a cocktail menu that pairs so well with the food menu. I can’t wait to see what the Summer menu holds, Rothstein said it should be debuting it in the next few weeks and you can bet your bacon (see what I did there?) Holy City Handcraft will be there…
Disclosure: I was compensated for my time to produce photographs and write this blog post. All opinions expressed are entirely my own and not influenced in any way.