Infuxn Vodka Bar

Infuxn.

 

Let’s start with the pronunciation of this odd little word, specifically the latter half.

 

It does not rhyme with suction; it rhymes with fusion.

 

Now, put it all together and say in-fusion.

 

Not only is that what the name sounds like, it also describes what goes on at Joplin’s ultra hip vodka bar called Infuxn.

 

infuxn lounge

 

This upscale lounge with its sleek decor, VIP seating, frozen drink rail at the bar, and vodka bank in the rear makes me feel like I’ve have been transported from southwest Missouri directly to a club in Vegas.

 

infuxn bank 2

The vodka bank. Care to make a withdrawal?

 

In addition to its unique atmosphere, Infuxn sets itself apart from other local bars by focusing on the art of the cocktail. Many of the drinks here are actual infusions, which are defined in the dictionary as “drinks, remedies, or extracts prepared by soaking the leaves of a plant or herb in liquid.”

 

Yes, Infuxn has a remedy for whatever ails you.

 

The medicine man here is Daniel Valentine, the creative force behind Infuxn’s cocktail elixirs. He has crafted a menu of drinks that is anything but ordinary. Daniel even takes his art beyond the menu by concocting a daily drink special, plus he makes customized drinks based on his patrons’ requests.

 

The novel atmosphere and chill vibe of Infuxn make it a great place for a date or to meet up with friend. Recently, my friend Carrie and I stopped here and relaxed while we sampled a few of Daniel’s masterpieces.

 

I’ll admit, I’d assumed that all of the drinks would be vodka-based, since Infuxn is a vodka bar. While many of them are, I later realized that the two drinks I’d ordered had not a drop of vodka in them.

 

This is the French Connection.

 

infuxn french

 

Beautiful, isn’t it?

 

But it’s not what I ordered, and that was my own fault. When our server placed this pretty brandy snifter on the table, I realized that it looked nothing like the icy Last Summer that I’d intended to order. Glancing back at the menu, I saw that the French Connection was listed below the Last Summer, and I must have been so intrigued with it that the words “French Connection” came out of my mouth when my brain meant to say “Last Summer.”

 

Oops.

 

But instead of sending the drink back, I opted to try it. After all, Infuxn is the place to sample innovative concoctions that you can’t find anywhere else.

 

The French Connection is made with a variety of ingredients, many of which I looked up before writing this article because I wasn’t exactly sure what they were, like Bulleit Rye (Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey) and Green Chartreuse (a naturally green liquor made from alcohol, sugar, and 130 plants and flowers). Add in some orange bitters, house maple syrup, serve it over a muddled sugar cube, and garnish it with an orange peel and fresh rosemary, and you’ve got your French Connection.

 

Fragrant and subtly sweet – yet potent – this is definitely a sipping drink. I would even order it again – on purpose.

 

Carrie started out with the tropical Lusca, which is Infuxn’s version of a Mai Tai.

 

infuxn lusca

 

The Lusca is made with Pyrat rum, The Kraken black spiced rum, Cointreau, and fresh lime, pineapple, and orange juices. Lime syrup and orgeat (I had to look this up, too: a syrup made from almonds, sugar, and rose water or orange flower water) are added, then the mixture is shaken, strained, and served over ice.

 

 

It won’t come as a surprise that the next drink I ordered was the Last Summer.

 

infuxn last summer

 

Made with Hendrick’s gin, lavender-ginger syrup, and fresh lemon juice, this elixir is served over ice and topped with a Luxardo cherry. This refreshing drink goes down easily, so pace yourself – especially on a hot day. And do yourself a favor and eat that decadent (and expensive) Luxardo cherry on top; fruity with a hint of amaretto, Luxardo cherries are the luxe cousins of the familiar Maraschino cherries.

 

 

Carrie ordered the popular Moscow Mule next.

 

infuxn mule 1

 

This shiny, chilled copper mug contained Russian Standard vodka, ginger beer, freshly squeezed lime juice, and a special ingredient (ooh, mystery!) and was topped with a slice of lime and a slice of cucumber. This invigorating drink is a guaranteed thirst-quencher on a sultry day.

 

Halfway through my second drink, my stomach piped up and asked me to fill it with something more substantial than liquid. I’ve learned by now not to argue with my stomach, so I asked for a food menu, which contained a variety of small-plate options.

 

I ordered the Crab Stuffed Mushrooms, which provided a creamy, salty contrast to my mildly sweet drink.

 

infuxn crab

 

Carrie, a vegan, ordered the hummus.

 

infuxn hummus

 

The hummus flavor that day was garlic, and it was served with fresh celery, carrots, and fried naan (which is lightly seasoned and highly addictive).

 

I’m excited that Infuxn is part of Joplin; it offers a one-of-a-kind experience in our city, making it a must-visit place for both tourists and locals.

 

Just make sure you practice saying the name before you go.

 

 

 

Infuxn is located at 503 S. Main St. Click here to visit Infuxn’s website.

 

To read more about my adventures in the area, visit JoplinMOLife.com.

 

All Aboard Ice Cream

There are restaurants you stop at to fill your belly, and then there are restaurants you visit to fill the pages in your family’s book of memories.

 

All Aboard Ice Cream is one of those memory-making restaurant destinations.

 

Location

All Aboard Ice Cream is located on Highway 86, just south of Joplin. It’s right across the street from Shoal Creek and some of Wildcat Glades Conservation and Audubon Center‘s scenic hiking trails. Take advantage of this great location by enjoying a nature walk before or after your visit to All Aboard.

 

 

The Appeal

The Kansas City Southern postal car that sits in the front of the property attracts curious visitors to All Aboard, but the old-fashioned ice cream and hamburgers are the gustatory draws (more about those later).

 

all aboard rr car

 

When my daughter and I visited All Aboard, the first thing she did was run to the rail car to begin exploring.

 

This was once a postal car, and I found it interesting looking at the names of the towns listed on the mail slots in the center of the car.

 

all aboard mail

 

Back in the day, it might take days or weeks for messages to be delivered. Explaining this process to email-savvy young ones makes for a unique history lesson.

 

all aboard car interior

 

You can also eat inside the air-conditioned rail car at one of the dining booths.

 

By the way, All Aboard offers birthday party packages in the rail car. Talk about a one-of-a-kind location!

 
 

Whisler’s

After exploring the rail car, we headed over to the train depot to order our food.

 

 

all aboard depot

 

The counter is divided between All Aboard’s dessert orders on the left and Whisler’s Old-Fashioned Hamburgers on the right.

 

Burgers? Wasn’t this supposed to be about ice cream?

 

I promise I’ll get to the ice cream, but first let me tell you about Whisler’s.

 

Lunch before dessert, you know.

 

People who grew up in southwest Missouri have heard of the original Whisler’s in Carthage that has been perfecting its hamburgers since the 1950s.

 

all aboard grill

 

Well, I didn’t grow up around here so I’d never heard about Whisler’s until it opened at the All Aboard location.

 

Whisler’s is the type of all-American restaurant that you envision when you think of the wholesome 1950s, when burgers and ice cream were regarded with much more reverence than those served in today’s fast-food chain restaurants.

 

That’s because everything was made from scratch back then – and with quality ingredients.

 

Whisler’s old-time burgers are made to order on a busy, sizzling grill in the open kitchen. If you come at peak lunch time, be patient. There’s only so much room on the grill, so strike up a conversation with your neighbor in line while you wait for your juicy beauties to be ready.

 

all aboard burger

 

I ordered a single cheeseburger, which is slightly larger than a slider. Made with fresh, local beef, this burger was dressed with mustard, onions, pickles, and cheese, and topped off with a fluffy bun.

 

If you’re craving more meat, you can order double and triple burgers, or you can choose burgers topped with other types of meat, such as the “Pig and Bull” (with ham), “Sow and Cow” (with bacon), and the “Farm” (with ham and bacon).

 

My daughter doesn’t like burgers (what?!), so she ordered a hot dog.

 

all aboard picnic 2

 

She was obviously happy with her choice.

 

 

Finally, the Ice Cream!

A good old-fashioned slider meal begs to be topped off with a rich, creamy treat. All Aboard makes it easy to satisfy that craving by presenting a variety of ice cream flavors at the counter adjacent to Whisler’s.

 

all-aboard-ice-cream small

 

I confess that I’ve eaten All Aboard Ice Cream countless times in the past — but it was known as Anderson’s Ice Cream back then.

 

Let me explain.

 

Anderson’s Ice Cream satisfied the collective sweet tooth of the Joplin community for many years. Carl and Freda Anderson founded the original ice cream company in 1936 in downtown Joplin, and it was operated by family members until 1999.

 

In 2012, Billy Garrigan answered the prayers of many Joplinites and opened up Anderson’s Ice Cream inside the Candy House Gourmet Chocolates building.

 

Treating my kids to Anderson’s Ice Cream to kick off the first day of summer vacation became our family tradition.

 

When Garrigan moved his business in 2015, he also changed its name to All Aboard because a company in the Northeast had trademarked the name Anderson’s. While it would’ve been nice to carry on the Anderson’s name, I think All Aboard suits this train-themed business perfectly.

 

Drew Evans is the owner of All Aboard now, making premium ice cream in the Anderson’s tradition (its richness comes from 14% butterfat). I tried a scoop of caramelly Creme Brûlée (which is hard to see in the photo because it was such an incredibly bright day), and it was creamy perfection.

 

all aboard dessert

 

Family Friendly

When Garrigan opened All Aboard, his goal was to make the business and location as family friendly as possible. He scored well with the high-quality (yet affordable) burgers and ice cream.

 

The train theme puts him over the top.

 

In addition to the rail car, there’s other railroad memorabilia to discover. My daughter had fun standing by the crossing sign (which looks like she’s standing just a few feet from an active track)…

 

all aboard rr crossing

 

…and ringing the bell in front of the train depot.

 

all aboard bell

 

Older kids can play in the picnic area out front, and young children can toddle around safely in the enclosed patio area where their parents can sit down and eat in peace. There’s also a sandbox and a mini train; tickets can be purchased for a ride around the picnic area.

 

all aboard mini train

 

All Aboard has gone to great lengths to create a destination where families can enjoy wholesome food and family fun.

 

And where lasting memories are made.

 

 

All Aboard is located at 102 Castle Drive. Visit its Facebook page here.

 

To read more about my adventures in the area, visit JoplinMOLife.com.