Benton has been known for hidden gems and underrated establishments for quite some time but Heather Baber & Craig Roe are aiming to change that perception. In a single block, they have Benton’s Baja Grill, the newly acquired Valhalla Kitchen & Bar (and Ax Throwing), and the soon to be opened Rober cocktail and tapas bar. The spring cocktail menu at Valhalla showcases not only Baber’s influence but the confidence of the bar staff under Baber & Roe.
While Valhalla has a selection of classic cocktails, like Old Fashioneds, Negronis, and Cosmos, the specialty cocktails are inspired to pair with the pizza, wings, and salads while the restaurant goers sip away inside or the fantastic outdoor “patio.” The expansive outdoor space and the enclosed patio make this a hotspot without a doubt. The drinks at Valhalla under Baber’s guidance just fuel anticipation for the Rober cocktail list. If you are a Benton local, you already know this, but if you are not then you should really make it a point to visit Valhalla this summer.
Blue Eyelash (Katie Kidder)
Rocktown Gin, Blueberry, Mint, Lemon & Honey with a Sugar Rim
The Bluey Eyelash is bright and fruity on the nose but refreshingly tart on the tongue. The blueberry definitely comes forward with its tangy flavors to balance the rich honey notes and smooth over the gin. This is a drink that will make even a gin-hater take a second look as the mint, lemon, and sugar bring out the slightly more complex notes than you expect from this cocktail.
Jack That Glass Up
Jack Daniels Tennessee Whiskey, Cointreau, Agave Syrup
Jack That Glass Up takes something familiar and makes it feel brand new all over again. The combination of tennessee whiskey’s sweetness with the flavor profile usually in a margarita brings out a fresh take on both. Easily a drink that can go from a whiskey lover to a summer on the patio, the Jack That Glass Up could be a signature cocktail no matter where you find it.
Wham Bam Thank Ya, Jam (Sydney Harris)
Jameson Orange; Gran Gala; Lemon; Orange
The Wham Bam Thank Ua, Jam is simply summer in a glass. The light, refreshing, and sweet drink makes full use of the smoothness of Irish Whiskey and plays up the orange flavors with the Gran Gala. It is a fun sipper that reminds me of summer camp and orange push-pops with all of the fun those promised but as an adult.
Hot Swirl Summer
Rocktown Vodka, Watermelon, Valhalla Sour Mix, Club Soda
The use of the custom sour mix helps set this drink, and others at Valhalla, apart. There is no doubt that the Hot Swirl Summer is sweet, but the watermelon cuts the sweetness back from being overpowering by adding its fruity flavors to it. The dash of club soda means that the drink has a hint of effervescence adding to its playful nature.
Gin OR Bourbon; Lemon; Simple; Elderflower Tonic
The Switch Hitter elevates a straightforward Sour cocktail with the measured use of Elderflower tonic. It is an example of the ways that the Valhalla cocktail menu excels – taking what you expect and improving or elevating it by ten percent. The classic sour is a time tested drink, but the choice to ass the tonic for the hint of bitterness and the floral nose shows that a craft cocktail can be memorable without needing tweezers and dozens of ingredients.
Rum, Coconut, Pineapple, Valhalla Sour, Blue Curacao, Pineapple Juice, Sprite
The Valhallan isn’t a new cocktail, but if you have never been then you should know about this drink that has been there since the beginning. Served in a tropical mug and showcasing the vibrant atmosphere that Valhalla cultivates inside and out. This is a tropical treat and will give you the chance to just sit back and relax as the sweet but slightly sour Valhallan is given a smooth finish with the coconut.