This has nothing to do with hating on French elephants.
Lots of coffee places try to work the night time mojo by flipping to a bar scene, offering wine or cocktails after a certain hour. I give them props for trying to stay fresh and ahead of the game, but it's an often clumsy turn around where you're not sure if you're amongst the cafe society or the rail sitters. Will there be cheese plates or will there be wings?
Aster Cafe, as it evolves, sees the dilemma. The owners love their ladies who come in for coffee and scones, and while they don't want to bring in the Jack'N'Coke crowd looking for the game on a flat screen, they understand that libations do make for a good evening draw.
Enter the tea.
Owner Matty O'Reilly has come up with the solution: the anti-bar full bar. Taking a less is more approach, he's offering a limited number of cocktails and a limited selection of liquors (Jag seekers, out of luck), while showcasing loose leaf tea infused booze.
Using the high-quality teas from local gurus Tea Source, Aster has crafted lemon solstice infused Jameson, Moroccan mint rum, earl grey vodka, and tequila with African skies rooibos tea, among others. The result is a mellow flavor addition that doesn't overwhelm or load you up with sticky sweet HFCS-ey soda. The cocktail list is uncomplicated and lovely . . . the minted rum is paired simply with fresh squeezed lime juice for the RUMBA which reads as a cleaner version of the mojito. The JALOPY puts that faintly vanilla-citrus Jameson with Fentiman's ginger beer. They all lend themselves to sipping and enjoying, not so much the slamming and shooting.
Other boozy endeavors you don't want to miss: the hot cocktails (hot toddy, chai cognac latte) and the Amaretto Ace that comes with pear cider and a house-made peanut brittle swizzle stick. Truly this is cafe cocktail culture done well.