Denton Dram Cocktail Review: The Dreamsicle at Oak Street Drafthouse

Oak Street Drafthouse & Cocktail Parlor might be known for its charming exterior and vintage parlor feel, but any true Dentonite knows that just inside the front door lies an array of taps that could rival even the best beer gardens. Hand-crafted glass tap handles, board games and a ping pong table out back are just a few reasons to visit the Oak St crew, but now they’ve given you one more. Every month they’re featuring an original cocktail created by a member of the bar staff, and this month it’s The Texas Dreamsicle fashioned by bartender Grant Perkins.

It’s hard to argue that this spot is beer-forward with 72 beers on draft, but they’ve always offered classic cocktails such as an Old-Fashioned or a Moscow Mule. With hardly any turnover of the staff since opening their doors over four years ago, you’re likely to see a familiar face every time you visit Oak St that only adds to the friendly neighborhood feel of this bar. “I think people appreciate that it feels like home here,” Brian Doore says, “I know that’s what I appreciate about it. Everyone goes through bad times where stuff really sucks and you need a place that feels like home, this is that place for me. Whenever I’ve needed Oak Street to be there for me, it’s been there.” Doore is bartending alongside Mike Garza who’s been on staff for about 2 ½ years. They’re both enthusiastic about the community embracing the bar, and they embrace their clientele in return. “I love the people, the staff, and the products too,” Garza says, “It’s a place where all the customers are really cool with each other. There aren’t TVs so you kind of have to talk to other people.” In between chatting about the history of the bar or the tightknit Denton community, they pause to greet any guest walking through the door with a smile and a high five, a common “hello” in the Denton bar scene. When you’re ordering a drink at Oak Street, it feels more like you’re walking into a friend’s house than a bar. “We’re a family here, legitimately,” Doore adds, “It’s just nice.”

Only two months in to their Cocktail of the Month promotion, the guys at Oak Street compliment Perkins and his Texas Dreamsicle, a modest looking beverage in a Collins glass garnished with a lemon wedge. The name of the drink invokes memories of orange and cream, a seamless pairing of two flavors that are nostalgic to childhood. “It’s something new I haven’t had before,” Doore says, “It’s really tasty and refreshing. Grant brought me one a while ago on the back porch I and told him, ‘This is really f*cking good.’” In typical Texas fashion, the drink stands on a strong foundation of TX Whiskey. From there, Perkins adds lemonade and simple syrup, shakes everything up and then strains. The drink is topped with soda and finished with a squeeze of lemon. What’s most interesting is how the natural flavors of the whiskey create an element of the “dreamsicle” that so many people remember. The citrus notes are bolstered by the essence of vanilla and orange in the TX, so the result is an unexpected flavor profile that is familiar and satisfying. For this time of year it’s the perfect combination of fresh summer citrus and warm spices associated with the fall season. Here in Texas we know summer can last awhile, and Perkins has captured the south in way that is original and also tasty. 

If you’re thinking about swinging through Oak Street Drafthouse for a late night beer or house-made cocktail, you might be lucky enough to catch them in the middle of one of their infamous dance parties. Sporadic, and often spontaneous, these lights out events will have you moving until closing time. Early 2000’s and 90’s hip hop, rap favorites and the occasional slow grind get everyone’s spirits up while the drinks are going down. If you’re feeling like you’ve missed out while you’re watching everyone get down on Snapchat the next day, no need to fret. “The great thing about Oak Street dance parties is there’s never one too far away,” Doore says. Cheers, Oak Street Drafthouse, a Denton gem, and a home away from home. 

Photo by Lauren Coe
Header image design by Jason Lee