photo by Steve Bracci
When asked if he considers himself a “mixologist,” Steven Moore breaks into an easy smile and laughs. “I’m a bartender,” he replies. Moore is, in fact, a bartender. He worked his way through the University of Georgia tending bar. But the drinks turned out at The Indian Queen aren’t your average Old Fashioneds, Martinis and Margaritas. “Our Old Fashioneds don’t always have a cherry in them,” he says. “Sometimes it’s a raspberry, sometimes its brandy-soaked cherries.” And as for their Margarita—there’s no “sour mix” used at The Indian Queen and if you’re lucky you arrive on an evening when they’re shaking up their Habanera Honey Margarita, a surprisingly delicious combination of heat and sweet, with a side of tartness from fresh citrus juices.
The drinks are all sweetened with house-made simple syrups, never schnapps or flavored spirits. “We start off by making a really good drink and then add alcohol to it,” Moore says. “The quality is exponentially better when you’re making each ingredient.” Fruit is muddled, citrus is freshly juiced and a variety of fresh herbs, peppers and vegetables are added to their libations. “We use fresh ingredients, seasonal fresh fruits.” One popular drink is a combination of strawberry simple syrup, basil, vodka and soda. Another is their berry lemonade that’s made with berry-lemon simple syrup, vodka and a splash of Prosecco.