Sometimes we all just need a good, reliable local. It’s a sunny December afternoon, right on happy hour, and I could do with a refreshing cocktail or two.
Take a Moment to Pause
Pause on Balaclava’s bustling Carlisle St is a good, honest bar and very popular, especially amongst locals. It advertises 2 for $22 cocktails, Monday to Friday from 4 p.m. til late. Now who doesn’t love an extra long happy hour?!
As it identifies as Moroccan inspired, I showed up expecting a Moroccan flavour to the cocktail menu. However, it turned out that just a few of the décor features represent the Moroccan bit. Not that I’m saying that’s a bad thing – I appreciated the red velour, Moroccan cushions, cowhide and light fixtures. Like I said, it’s a good, honest local venue and it offers a relaxed vibe, friendly staff and a comfy laid back setting. Plus they do live music.
Back to the cocktail menu…
Of course, the happy hour promotion is a special menu, but still a good, modified selection from the main list. The main menu offers a number of standards as well as signatures.
I asked the bartender for her recommendation and she was very insistent that their espresso martini was their specialty, closely followed by the chilli & coconut martini. Both sounded amazing, but it’s a warm summer afternoon and I’m looking for something more refreshing. Ok 3rd suggestion is The Polish Star (Polish in a Moroccan bar – huh???) – a signature favourite, but I’m warned it’s sweet.
The Polish Star
Yes, sweet but also a lovely refreshing, summer afternoon cocktail and on the weaker side of the booze spectrum so I think the Polish Star would be a very nice apéritif, especially before a Moroccan dinner or hors d’oeuvre.
A mix of vodka, peach liqueur, lemon juice, apple juice and passionfruit, shaken and served straight up.
The citrus balances out the sweetness, and in fact a little more lemon juice would’ve been nice, so if you don’t usually have a palate for sweet cocktails, maybe ask for a touch more lemon.
If you’re wondering what my second 2 for $22 cocktail was, I had the Tequila Swinger.
Tequila, Cointreau, orange juice, lemon juice and sugar syrup. Served lowball with a salt rim and ice.
“What’s drinking? A mere pause from thinking!”
– Lord Byron, The Deformed Transformed