Cocktail Corner: Tupelo Junction Cafe

Posted on Jan 10 by Leslie Dinaberg

The Whistling Dixie at Tupelo Junction Cafe, photo by Leslie Dinaberg

The Whistling Dixie at Tupelo Junction Cafe, photo by Leslie Dinaberg

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! by Leslie Dinaberg |

You’ll find Southern comfort food in spades at Tupelo Junction Cafe, but this reliable old favorite downtown restaurant also has a creative and well-priced cocktail menu (1218 State St., 805/899-3100).

This week my tipple of choice was the Whistling Dixie, a smooth concoction of Maker’s Mark Whisky, Fresh Squeezed Lemonade and Soda that was just the ticket before a yummy meal of the Crispy Fried “Free Range” Chicken with Caramelized Onion Mashed Potatoes, Sauteed Swiss Chard, Sweet Corn & Herbed Pan Gravy. Delicious … and just like Grammy used to make, if my Grandma didn’t specialize in making reservations!

Tupelo’s specialty martini list has clever home-fried names—which the writer in me approves of—and lip-smacking top shelf potions—which the drinker in me approves of. For example:

The Kentucky Derby, made with 10 Cane Rum, Amaretto, Pineapple, Orange Juice & Cherry.

The Sweet “Tea”ni, made with Ketel One Citroen, Blackberry Sage Iced Tea & Lemonade.

The Sour Lemon Drop, made with Grey Goose Vodka, Fresh Squeezed Lemon & served in a sugar rimmed glass.

The Pink Flamingo, with Tanqueray Gin, fresh squeezed Pink Grapefruit Juice & Soda.

The Southern Belle, an Absolut Mandarin Cosmopolitan with Cranberry and Lime Juice.

The Rajin’ Cajun, with Absolut Peppar, Chipotle Bloody Mary & Pickled Green Beans. This is definitely a brunch time favorite for Bloody Mary fans. Try the Wild Mushroom, Asparagus, Black Truffle Cheese Scramble with Baby Green Salad & Homemade Bread—you’ll swear you’ve died and gone to truffle-sniffing heaven!

The Spicy Smoked Chipotle & Crab Bloody Mary also has a lot of brunch time takers.

And for dessert, try the Velvet Elvis, made with Stoli Vanilla, Kahlua, Baileys, Banana Liquer & Chocolate. If you really want to “love me tender,” pair this with the Chocolate Turtle Beignets with Crème Anglaise & Candied Pecans. Ahhh, such sweet nirvana!

Happy Hour is also a great time to visit Tupelo Junction Cafe. Every night from 5–7 p.m. (they’re closed Mondays) they have selected cocktails for just $6, including The Rajin’ Cajun and The Southern Belle, as well as a Farmer’s Market Blackberry Mojito and a terrific Margarita with Fresh Lime, Mint, Cucumber & Tangerines. Selected wines by the glass are only $5 during happy hour, in addition to a whole slew of tasty small plates, including Cheddar Cheese Hush Puppies with Spicy Pepper Jam, Fried Green Tomatoes with Herb Buttermilk Dressing, and those Chocolate Turtle Beignets I was telling you about.

I’ll definitely be back again soon. Hope to see you…I mean y’all, there.


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Leslie Dinaberg

Leslie Dinaberg

When she’s not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie considers herself a “goal-oriented drinker.”


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