Cocktail review: Luis Suarez at Mes Que
As we watched Germany's Mario Gotze strike the winning goal of the World Cup into the net, my boyfriend remarked, "Well, that's it. No more soccer for the next four years."
Not at Mes Que. The Hertel spot bills itself as "Buffalo's Soccer Bar and Restaurant." With a name translating to "more than" in Catalan, the language of Barcelona, and the slogan of FC Barcelona, Mes Que is more than a soccer bar. It aspires to serve food, cocktails, beer and wine that don't just accompany game watching, but enhance it.
I was pleasantly surprised by the depth and variety on the Mes Que drink list. A selection of twists on the trendy Moscow Mule were there, as was the now-requisite St. Germain and lemon juice concoction. It wasn't as culturally apropos as I expected, but it's a broad and well-curated selection.
What really caught my eye, and then my taste buds, was the Luis Suarez, a blend of tequila, mezcal, lemon and habanero bitters served on the rocks with a bell pepper garnish. As you might expect, it has a bite.
If you order your chicken wings hot, you'll like this one. The tequila and mezcal (tequila's sultry cousin) make it smoky and smooth, with a deep, lingering sweetness and a quick, tart nip from that lemon. And then the habanero bitters kick in, and you'll appreciate that red pepper mellowing it all out.
Good thing it's ice cold, because that chill keeps the spice from becoming overpowering. It's a complex flavor, but like soccer fascinated the United States during the World Cup, the Luis Suarez got my attention and held it through the last sip.
If the moniker sounds familiar, that's because it's named after the Uruguay international and now FC Barcelona footballer who's known for leading his country to the 2011 Copa America title, as well as equally well-known for biting three other players throughout his career, most recently Italian Giorgio Chiellini during the 2014 FIFA World Cup. He's famous for being a dirty player, but an excellent one.
His namesake is like a margarita that took to the streets. It's got that tequila flavor we've all come to expect from a Spanish sipper, with the spice that's so characteristic of that cuisine. It'd go great with beans and rice or some Manchego, chorizo and baguette.
Mes Que may have quieted down since the World Cup went back to Germany, but the patrons wearing soccer scarves scattered around the bar point to its popularity, all year long. If you'd like to sip on something with Suarez's famous bite while watching the sport America forgot, Mes Que's Luis Suarez will meet that goooooooooal.
Mes Que; 1420 Hertel Ave, Buffalo; www.mesque.com; 836-8800; cocktails $8.
Lizz Schumer is a Buffalo writer and editor who covers cocktails, food and whimsy for a variety of publications. She is the author of "Buffalo Steel" and can be found @eschumer orwww.facebook.com/authorlizzschumer.