But does anyone in Kansas City actually make this namesake beverage? I stopped by three savvy bars, ordered a Kansas City Ice Water without further explanation, and waited to see what the bartender made.
Initial response: "It's been a while since we've made one of those."
What happens: The waiter returns to the table and asks what's in the drink. I tell him it has clear liquor and should be crisp, with a touch of sweetness. He leaves again and consults with both on-duty bartenders for a long minute. It's clearly been more than a while.
What I get: A tall, narrow glass arrives. The murkiness looks promising, and the twisted-lime-rind garnish earns style points. But the gin overwhelms a bit, and there's not quite enough sweetness. This is just a gin and tonic with a tad more citrus.
Memorable line: "Do you have a backup? Our bartender has no clue. He is giving me the death stare."
12 Baltimore Bar & Café
(at Hotel Phillips, 106 West 12th Street)
Initial response: "Do you mean Kansas City Tea?"
What happens: Multiple bartenders and waiters congregate without reaching conensus. One of them suggests using Google.
What I get: A perfect, properly translucent Kansas City Ice Water - not too limey, not too sweet, not too strong. Thanks, Google.
Memorable line: "You have to bring in all of your fancy ideas from the East Coast."
(409 East 31st Street)
Initial response: "I'm familiar with it. Best-tasting Ice Water in Kansas City."
What happens: Nothing further is said. The confidence on display is awesome.
What I get: The drink arrives in an oversized glass, much larger than those given for average cocktails - totally fine. The contents are clear, though - too clear. Up through the straw comes ... water. This is water. For the record, it *is damn good water.
Memorable line: "Most people don't call it that." *Then what do they call it? "Water."