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Photo: Hailey Bollinger

B E S T F E R M E N T E D S U G AR C A N E c o c k ta il Mita’s is chef and owner Jose Salazar’s tribute to his Colombian grandmother’s spirit — his mamita — and to Spanish and Latin American food and drink. Like Latin culture itself, the restaurant is fun, designed with Moroccan-influenced tiles, architectural columns and concrete, plus one-of-a-kind lighting. The atmosphere is lively, especially at the bar — a great place to get familiar with mezcal, the smoky agave spirit-of-the-moment, and cachaça, a Brazilian spirit made with fermented sugarcane. The inventive Mezcal Manhattan is getting lots of buzz, with mole bitters and maraschino, but the Central and South American classics are as close to traditional as you can get. Hemingway’s Papa Doble pays tribute to the author with a take on his favorite Cuban daiquiri recipe, and the Caipirinha, a frothy and citrusy cocktail made with rum-like cachaça, lime and sugar. It’s the national cocktail of Brazil, and what the locals drink as the sun goes down, making it perfect for a postwork happy hour. Mita’s, 501 Race St., Downtown, 513-421-6482, mitas.co.

B e s t C l a ss ic O l d Fa s h ion e d i n C l a ss ic S u r r o u n di n g s Who doesn’t want to drink fancy drinks in a blinging Art-Deco palace? Well, maybe people who don’t drink, which is totally fine. You should still go to Orchids at Palm Court’s bar and get some appetizers concocted by AAA five-diamond chef Todd Kelly and take in one of the most ornate locations in Cincinnati. If you are an imbiber, watching the bartenders assemble their take on the Old Fashioned is an experience in itself. Blending culinary innovation and classic mixology, simple syrup and bitters are frozen inside the Old Fashioned’s ice cubes and blended with chef’s choice bourbon; the flavor changes as the ice melts. Part of Cincinnati history, the bar holds court at the heart of the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza Hotel in Carew Tower, which was constructed in the dawning days of the 1930s. Resplendent in rosewood, marble and angular, crystalline light fixtures, hanging

out under Orchids’ soaring green and silver roof would be worth it even if the drinks weren’t excellent. Luckily, they are. Orchids at Palm Court, 35 W. Fifth St., Downtown, 513-421-9100, orchidsatpalmcourt.com.

B e s t Loc a l E x p e r i m e n ta l M u s ic P ion e e r C om e b a ck Last June, Woodward Theater hosted the first No Response Festival, the brainchild of John Rich and Jon Lorenz, who have helped keep experimental music alive in Cincinnati for the past decade-plus by operating various venues, booking shows and hosting the influential Art Damage radio show. Featuring a broad range of unique styles from Noise Rock to Electronic Ambient music and beyond by some experimental heavy hitters, one of No Response’s coolest bookings was a local enigma, John Bender, who performed publicly for the first time in over 30 years at the event. Bender’s DIY recordings from the late ’70s/early ’80s had

Monroe Barrel House 6550 Hamilton Lebanon Rd Monroe, OH 45044

lockland Barrel House 607 Shepherd Dr Cincinnati, OH 45215

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2017 Best of Cincinnati  
2017 Best of Cincinnati