Smile Politely

Mike N’ Molly’s N’ Mixology

Mike N’ Molly’s is a local institution, beloved for its beer garden rock shows, Irish whiskey, and last call PBRs. However, veteran bartenders Devin Atkins and Melody Ensinger are giving patrons a new reason to love MnM’s: a seasonal cocktail list.

While the old standbys and weekly specials will remain, Mel said she and Devin “wanted to do something different and try a seasonal menu with specialty drinks on it.” The new beverages are there to “give people other options and let them know that Mike N’ Molly’s can make other drinks and not just pour beer and Irish whiskey — although we have a great selection of both of those things as well.”

Though the current list features many traditional cocktails, like a rye Manhattan, vodka and gin gimlets, and a traditional mojito, selective ingredients lend a higher quality to the beverages. Tasty rye bourbons, top-shelf tequilas, and unique rums that have gone ignored were incorporated to “give people a taste of something they may not normally order.”

Beyond the liquors, the new cocktails use home-grown ingredients from the bartenders themselves. My personal new favorite, the raspberry mint tart, features muddled mint from Mel’s own garden, Bacardi rum, Chambord raspberry liquor, sour mix, and a little soda water for effervescence. The complex flavors went down very smoothly, and I couldn’t help but order another.

To pair with the new Reggae night, the Rum Punch was a favorite amongst my fellow ladies. A combination of Myer’s rum and house rum are served on the rocks with orange, cranberry, and lime juices. Sweet, fruity, and served in a tulip glass, I felt like I was drinking cocktails by the pool in Vegas rather than sitting in the Mike N’ Molly’s beer garden — except that I would have paid at least twice what I paid for it ($7) at the Flamingo.

The new menu is not only delicious, but an excellent buzz for your buck with prices as low as $4 and averaging only $6. Forget Vegas, that’s even affordable by Champaign standards. While modest in size, Mel described the menu as “a work in progress” that would be undergoing expansion as well as seasonal influences.

I have to be honest, I’m guilty of using MnM’s as a last call bar and rarely venturing outside my usual vodka soda. But with the summer weather, spacious beer garden, and new menu, I’ll be stopping to enjoy Happy Hour much more frequently.

Mike N’ Molly’s is located at 105 N. Market in Champaign. Hours are 4:00 p.m.–2:00 a.m., seven days a week.

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