When I think of beverages to serve with barbecue, the obvious—cold beer—usually comes to mind. I’ve yet to sample any ‘cue at the new DBA Barbecue in Virginia-Highland, but I’m already a fan of the drinks. The other night after a home-cooked dinner, a friend and I went for a walk into the Highlands and, having worked up a sweat in this balmy weather, decided to grab a refresher. We passed El Taco, where crowds were two-deep at the bar for margaritas, and settled on the laid-back patio at DBA next door—the hostess said we were welcome to sit out there just for drinks. DBA has plenty of beer selections—Abita, Sweetwater and Terrapin on tap; lots of craft bottles—plus a full wine list, but the intriguing cocktails got our attention.
I can’t remember the last time I had a wine cooler, but perhaps they should come back in style, because DBA’s house-made ones are perfect for summer. The menu says “think Southern sangria”—a fitting description, except that there’s no fruit floating around in the glass. We sampled and enjoyed both varieties, peach-orange and pomegranate-raspberry. Just slightly sweet, they were extremely refreshing and still packed a little punch.
We were perusing the list for our next drink orders—spiked root beer or pickled moonshine martini?—when one of the owners, Matt Coggin, brought over tastes of their pineapple-infused moonshine. DBA doesn't distill the alcohol—it's Junior Johnson's—but it is house-infused with fruit for several weeks. After finishing off the surprisingly sippable 80-proof shooters, we didn’t need another drink after all. Since I’m pretty much incapable of visiting a restaurant without sampling something from the kitchen, we ordered some boiled peanuts to snack on. They were well-seasoned and came in a cute tin pail—needless to say, it was soon empty.