Glow for me: the Illuminati at XS. (Kenneth K. Lam/Baltimore…)
With its brushed-metal table tops and industrial chic atmosphere, XS is no stranger to making your dining and drinking experience as close to a nightclub as possible. One of the perks: black lights. Why? The Illuminati cocktail.
The Illuminati, a citrusy version of a traditional Gin and Tonic, takes advantage of the black lights at the bar and gives the drinker something of a bonus — it glows. Quinine in the tonic water has a fluorescent effect (The More You Know), so the more tonic, the brighter the glow.
Special effects aside, the Illuminati benefits from a heavy pour of Hendrick's Gin, which is infused with cucumber so as to mellow the "Christmas tree" flavor that many find unappealing about gin. With some additional Cointreau and a splash of lemonade with a lime wedge/cucumber-slice garnish, there's a nice balance. The pairing of the cucumber notes and tartness of citrus blends well with the gin to create a nice flavor profile.
So if you're into a gin drink that won't overwhelm your mouth with juniper — and also enjoy things that glow — try out XS's Illuminati one evening. Preferably on a Wednesday evening, when all of XS' specialty cocktails are half off ($3.75 after 7 p.m.). Bring a highlighter and draw all over your friends as an added bonus.
How to make the Illuminati
3 oz. Hendricks Gin
1 oz. Cointreau
Splash of lemonade
Tonic to taste, or glow preference
Combine all ingredients over ice. Stir, garnish with a slice of lime and cucumber.
Where to get the Illuminati
1307 N. Charles St., Mount Vernon
$7.50, all cocktails half price on Wednesdays, 7 p.m.-midnight.