By Dr. Ink
As the name implies, you can bet your equilibrium that the cocktails at Hundred Proof aren’t for lightweights. This isn’t to say that every drink rings in at 100 proof, but there are plenty of robust, high-quality liquors that find their way into your glass.
Hundred Proof is the boozy offshoot to nearby Trust, which also has a solid cocktail program but operates more as a restaurant. Both establishments are part of the same restaurant group co-owned by acclaimed chef Brad Wise. (A third venture is in the pipeline for Mission Hills, a restaurant due to open in the fall.)
In my most recent happy hour visit to Hundred Proof, I got somewhat sloshed over a hand-shaken daiquiri served in a cute, little tulip glass. All cocktails during this time are $7, and my plan was to encroach on one or two others afterwards.
That didn’t happen. The daiquiri uses two types of rum by Hamilton: the “navy strength” and the “86.” Both are high-octane and offer teasing notes of caramel and raisins. Compared to white rums used in traditional daiquiris, the Hamilton brand turns the drink into an adorable copper color.
A succinct selection of craft beer and wines by the glass are also in the offing during happy hour. They’re priced at $5 and $6, respectively. But based on my observations, most customers gravitate to the almighty cocktails — at least during happy hour.
The big sellers, according to one of the fast-moving bartenders, are “the pink drinks,” which mix locally produced gin by You & Yours with Campari, grapefruit and lemon.
The spicy “Trust #2” is also favored by the down-to-earth sophisticates who frequent the place. Invented at Trust, it features jalapeno-infused tequila, agave, citrus and Firewater Bitters. I had it a few months ago and loved its sexy tongue sting.
All “provisions” from the regular menu are $2 off during happy hour. A couple visits ago, I shared with a friend the wildly delicious beet hummus, which combines pureed chickpeas and red beets with pistachios, green onions and crumbled feta. With the discount, I paid $9, which included grilled pita bread for dipping.
Before the evening rush descends, Hundred Proof offers lots of wiggle room to stretch out and drink. In addition to a large bar, there are comfy booths, high tops and patio tables.
And if you’re wondering who the sultry woman is wearing a tuxedo and with a cigarette hanging from her mouth in the blown-up photo on the back wall, it’s movie legend Marlene Dietrich.
“Only four or five people out of 100 know who it is,” said the bartender as he conjured up a round of plucky cocktails for a trio of first-time customers, who enthusiastically buckled in for their plunge into this fun and inviting happy hour.