The Basics Drinking Out

Try the Best Smoky Cocktails from Dallas Bartenders

Dallas bartenders recently shared their finest recipes in the Smoky Malt Cocktail Challenge, sponsored by Ardbeg. Brian McCullough of The Standard Pour ultimately won, earning a trip to Scotland for his subtle and smoky masterpiece, The 10 Year Lifted Flip. He won’t be the only one to benefit from the competition, though. You, for instance, can check out the competition’s best cocktails, including McCullough’s, and explore the Dallas bars where these talented, innovative bartenders work. Before you head out to see what else they’re mixing up, find the smoky cocktail that speaks to you.

Black Swan Saloon

Locals love this spot for its tough-to-find entrance, relaxed vibe and the infused ingredients made in-house. This speakeasy-style bar just became notable for a new reason. Two of its bartenders—Julian Pagan and Máté Hartai—were prominently featured in the Smoky Malt Cocktail Challenge for their bold original recipes.

Lounge 31

Casual sophistication, cozy corners and European flair distinguish this charming cocktail lounge residing above Bistro 31. The handcrafted cocktails, made by talented bartenders such as Kiyoko Kinoshita, are the main attraction here. Try one of her signature recipes and it will be clear why she was featured in the Smoky Malt Cocktail Challenge for her As Islay Me Down cocktail.

The Mitchell

This swanky watering hole, with its exposed brick walls and elegant leather booths, has built its reputation on the strength of its exceptional gin cocktails. This is no specialty bar though. Bartender Sam Gillespie was even featured in the Smoky Malt Cocktail Challenge for his scotch cocktail, the Ulster Fashion.

Paschall Bar

The walls of this speakeasy-style bar are lined with bookshelves, filled with an impressive, diverse selection of titles, but the real masterworks are created behind the bar. That’s where you’ll find Allison Sigler, who garnered rave reviews for her Wake of Yan cocktail when she submitted it to the Smoky Malt Cocktail Challenge.


This Fort Worth hot spot is becoming a destination for anyone who appreciates a high-end cocktail in a low-key environment. Bartender Lisa Little-Adams helps make this possible, using the same skill and attitude that got her featured in Smoky Malt Cocktail Challenge for her original recipe, the Ardbeg Mary.

The Standard Pour

This stunning bar and restaurant is an inviting mix of class and comfort, achieving an intriguing balance with its 1920s-inspired décor and cutting-edge cocktails. Weaving it all together is bartender Brian McCullough, fresh off winning the regional for the Smoky Malt Cocktail Challenge for his revelatory recipe, the 10 Year Lifted Flip.