When you think of Tupelo, Mississippi, what may not come to mind is craft cocktails – but it should.
When you think about Tupelo, you may conjure up images of a young Elvis. After all, Tupelo was the birthplace of the King of Rock n’ Roll, and his childhood home is now a museum where people the world over come to pay homage.
Or you may think about Tupelo being a hub of industry, commerce and culture in North Mississippi. Tupelo is, after all, the seventh largest city in Mississippi, and the county seat of Lee County.
What may not come to mind when you think of Tupelo is craft cocktails. Yet, there are several restaurants and bars in the downtown area alone where bartenders are creating tasty and interesting artisan cocktails. It’s generated a big bar scene and it has made Tupelo’s downtown come alive.
The Tupelo Convention and Visitors Bureau has recognized the trend and they have jumped on it, so to speak, creating the Tupelo Cocktail Trail. There are over 200 restaurants in Tupelo, making for a strong food scene in the city. Many of those restaurants have a solid bar program. Tupelo CVB has identified seven downtown locations where carefully curated cocktails are mixed by a number of crafty bartenders.
To encourage residents and visitors alike to visit those bars, the Tupelo CVB has created a cocktail trail pass, available at participating restaurants, the Tupelo Visitors Center or by download here. Once all of the Cocktail Trail has been visited and passes have been validated, patrons can redeem the pass for a free #MyTupelo cocktail shaker at the Tupelo Visitors Center.
No need to barhop to all seven bars in one night – that would be irresponsible. The program runs through June 19, 2024. So, take your time. Pop in to one or two a night. It’s worth going back to Tupelo multiple times if you must.
The seven downtown participants each have a specialty cocktail they have created for the Cocktail Trail.
The first stop is the Amsterdam Deli, a charming spot at 128 Main Street with a Mediterranean-leaning menu and live music.
Their signature cocktail is called The Jordan River, and it is crafted with Tito’s vodka, champagne, lemon juice and simple syrup.
The Downunder, located at 216A Main Street, offers international pub grub with a unique flair. Their kangaroo sauce is famous (no kangaroos were harmed in the making of the sauce).
Some of the menu options are gator quesadillas, Wagyu burgers, Aussie meat pies, and truffle hummus. More international flavor comes with the Carribean jerk pork ribeye and the Korean sweet and spicy gochujang wings.
The specialty cocktail at the bar is The Burnout, and it is lighting up the bar in a big way. The cocktail is made with bourbon, Grand Marnier, ginger/grapefruit bitters, and a flamed orange that creates a show whenever it’s made.
At 343 E. Main Street, Fairpark Grill is located in he heart of downtown Tupelo. The restaurant offers a beautiful park view from the patio, and inside, a sleek, modern interior provides a unique restaurant experience. The restaurant has an extensive menu with everything from nachos and buffalo wings for starters, to specialty salads, sandwiches, wraps, burgers, sliders as well as steaks and chicken entrees.
The specialty cocktail on the Cocktail Trail could double as dessert: the Lemon Ice Box Martini is crafted with Absolut citron, white chocolate, and fresh squeezed lemon juice.
Next up is Jobos, located at 314 E. Main Street.
A surf and turf restaurant with a casual beachy vibe, Jobos has a solid bar program, including several non-alcoholic options that are every bit as crafty as the fully leaded drinks they serve.
Their Cocktail Trail offering is The Daisy, made with Luna Azul tequila, Triple Sec, fresh squeezed citrus juice, rimed with Tan & Herb salt.
Nautical Whimsey at 210 Main Street is an Italian joint with a charming urban outdoor seating area. They offer all you’d expect to see on a menu for an Italian restaurant as well as steaks.
The cocktail they chose for the Cocktail Trail is their Tupelo Martini, made with tequila, Triple Sec, sweet & sour mix, and blueberry syrup.
It was only a matter of time before one of the selections paid homage to that classic Van Morrison song. Park Heights restaurant, located at 335 E. Main Street is a steakhouse and more, specializing in Southern and American cuisine.
The interior is sophisticated and comfortable, and the bar has an extensive wine list as well as a variety of artisan cocktails, including the Tupelo Honey, which is the restaurant’s featured drink for the Cocktail Trail.
Made with honeysuckle vodka, elderflower liqueur, fresh mint and lemon juice, it is absolutely as sweet as you-know-what.
The final stop on the Cocktail Trail is The Grillehouse at 205 Troy Street. Known for their steaks and seafood, the dinner only restaurant also has an excellent bar.
Perhaps one of the most interesting cocktails on the Cocktail Trail, The Kennedy is made with Knob Creek Rye Bourbon, Plantation Dark Rum, orange bitters, dark brown sugar, simple syrup, St. Germaine elderberry liqueur and garnished with an orange slice.