[Photos: K. Davidson/EDFW]
You've likely seen Eddie "Lucky" Campbell slinging drinks at one of your favorite watering holes at some point in time, but his brand new bar Parliament is something Dallas really hasn't seen much of before. This unassuming speakeasy might be more at home in a secret New York location, but lucky for Dallas, he's set up shop in the cozy State-Thomas area just west of Central Expressway, giving serious drinkers a whole new set of reasons to brave Uptown. The libations at Parliament resemble your average vodka-soda only in that they are both served in glasses. No worries, though, because even the simplest of palates will find something to love on Campbell's diverse cocktail list.
The menu comes to the table in a hefty binder, and is divided by both spirits and whimsy. A category of champagne cocktails ranges from classic and sophisticated to fresh and modern: There's the Parliament 75, a yuzu-infused twist on a traditional French 75, but also the Honeysuckle, in which Campbell mixes bubbly with a seven-year aged rum, orange-scented honey, and elderflower liqueur for a beautifully floral beverage.
Under "House Specialties," you'll find plenty of Campbell's best bartender tricks. Some beverages, like the Trinity Siphon, are blasted with CO2. For the Banksy, a blend of ginger, allspice, blackberries and citrus gin, a bartender painstakingly "spray paints" a tiny lotus and the bar's logo into a thick egg white foam. A server walked it over to the table gently and surprisingly, the stencil remained intact longer than the spicy, creamy cocktail did.
Campbell also has an excellent interpretation of the Ramos Gin Fizz. Invented by a New Orleans bartender in the 1880s, Parliament's version of the Ramos is impossibly light and citrusy. The recipe's traditional orange blossom water is laced throughout the fizz's foamy head, making a combination that is reminiscent of a grown-up dreamsicle.
This may also be the new place to find a great martini. Outside of a DIY option that offers olives stuffed with delicious fillings like prosciutto, scotch-soaked blue cheese and jalapenos, there are ten iterations of the time-honored drink. The list ranges from a classic creme de violette-tinged Aviation to the more inventive Spice Market, which is made with a spice-infused Kruto, vanilla and saffron-infused Cocchi. Though there's no food on the menu, these martinis and the infused gins and vodkas (in flavors like butter pickle and strawberry-shishito) that go into them indicate that Campbell has a real handle on developing great flavors.
Brown liquor lovers will also find plenty to sip. You could order a few shots of really excellent bourbon or scotch straight-up, but then you'd miss out on Parliament's really creative cocktails. In the Jing, the deer antler extract that Major League Baseball players used to bulk up is mixed with five-spice bitters and 18-year-old Suntory Yamazaki whisky. The drink is then rounded out with vanilla, quinquina, and lemon peel. At $27, this drink better actually make you better at baseball.
There are plenty more options for the splurge-happy drinker, too: For a cool $250, you can order up the House of Macgregor, which offers a gift certificate for a custom-made hat from the Oak Cliff haberdashery alongside a cocktail made with Ford's gin, ginger-thyme infused maraschino, and Aperol. If you have $75 to spend, you can relax with the Sir Winston Churchill. This combination consists of a shot of Johnnie Walker Blue Label and smoked Punt e Mes that can be enjoyed while puffing on a Churchill cigar.
With a cocktail menu that's probably thicker than the last book you read, Parliament has something that will suit just about everyone, from your pickiest and plainest drinkers to your most discerning cocktail snobs More importantly, though, Campbell has also single-handedly raised the stakes for Dallas cocktail bars.
Parliament opens at 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday.