Feared food writer, notorious restaurant reviewer and cut-throat culinarian Lex Monoxide is your guide to food, booze and ranting reviews!
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One18 Empire, located on Centre Street and 9 Ave. S.E. (across from the Calgary Tower) has one impressive whiskey bar. Searching the galaxy for new pleasures and feeling like I could take on the whole Empire myself, I strolled in asking for a whiskey list and they brought me a fucking iPad. I had access to a credit card and an iPad full of whiskeys. As the great Darth Vader said, “It is useless to resist.”
This was a detail that really elevated One18 Empire as a true whiskey bar; the waiter brought me an eyedropper. Scotch is so particular, that a few drops of water can completely change your experience with the same dram. Too much water and your drink is diluted, but a few drops can open up the nose and flavors. A bar that brings this elegant tool to your table recognizes that their patrons know their stuff and that the house is equally particular.
The aesthetic is tasteful, trendy and comfortable. It was busy without being overcrowded and the vibe was upbeat and positive. Their cocktail menu offers a very cool build-it-yourself method where you select your:
Your mixologist will whip out a torch, scorch the wood, smoke your glass and alchemize your customized cocktail with pyromaniacal flair right in front of your eyes. Smoke, flame-throwing pistols, hipsters; after a couple of these custom cocktails you’ll feel like Han Solo in that batshit crazy bar on Tatooine.
“This was a detail that really elevated One18 Empire as a true whiskey bar; the waiter brought me an eyedropper!” @LexMonoxide #Whiskey #FoodReview #One18Empire #GatewayGazette #Foothills #YYC
The beautiful thing about whiskey is the medley of versatile flavors. Honeys, cereals, leather, cream, salt, smoke – literally something for everybody. The Arran 10 year, AnCnoc 12 year, and Talisker 10 year are all fantastic – albeit different - expressions that I can recommend. The Aaran is quite malty and sweet with an earthy note of grass. AnCnoc has toasted cereals on the nose and palate, complemented by wood and barley. Talisker 10 has more peat, spice and a nice salty sea spray. These were under $11 each and flights are available starting under $20.
One18 Empire also has some pretty all-star fare. The next day, I spilled through their door like some scruffy-looking nerf herder to have breakfast with Mrs. Monoxide. And that’s what we did after I slammed 3 glasses of freshly squeezed OJ and a pot of tea. Somehow, I was still thirsty despite drinking all night.
Crispy golden fried chicken with buttery waffles – a stellar combo after tying one on and waking up in a TIE fighter with your blaster pointed at some jittery Ewok steering from the passenger seat.
The One18 Burger was also delicious with smoky bacon and a hearty homemade accompanied by fantastic gourmet fries tossed in Parmesan.
A Jedi craves sexy cocktails, remarkable food, skilled servers and an all-star whiskey list. One18 Empire delivers it all at a price point that isn’t astronomical, so c’mon, give yourself to the Dark Side.