Cocktail Corner: Sipping on Sipp Cocktails

Pomegrante Mojo LemonDrop, photo and recipe courtesy Sipp Sparkling Organics.

Pomegrante Mojo LemonDrop, photo and recipe courtesy Sipp Sparkling Organics.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic!  By Leslie Dinaberg

We’re always looking for simple cocktail mixers around here, so when the sample box of Sipp Sparkling Organics arrived, I was eager to try them.

Company founder Beth Wilson-Parentice began experimenting with flavors after being laid off from her corporate job. “After many inspiring conversations with my friends, I knew there had to be something here…something relating to creating, mixing and entertaining,” she writes.  “After researching, I saw a growing niche.  A niche that I was already creating in my home entertaining with natural and organic cocktails!  Ah ha!  That’s it!  I will be the one who can help people entertain naturally, but with style too!  Eco-chic!”

She says, “My hope is to inspire you to live your passion and be prepared for your moment of opportunity. Sipp all started with a passion. A passion for superior taste, creating, entertaining and wanting to find MY passion. As they say, when you are handed lemons make lemonade (or cocktails, in my case)!”

After researching costs to create beverages, Wilson-Parentice decided to go in the direction of non-alcoholic brand.  “The costs were less and I liked the idea of creating a specialty beverage for people who don’t drink alcohol but also offer the versatility as a cocktail mixer,” she says.

It’s certainly been a hit. Entrepreneur just named Sipp one of the best entrepreneurial companies in America and Sipp is now widely available at Target and other selected retailers such as BevMo and Pacific Health Foods in Carpinteria (I also spotted it at Luna Grill in the Five Points center recently), and has six different flavors: Mojo Berry, Ginger Blossom, Zesty Orange, Lemon Flower, Ruby Rose and Summer Pear. 

Blackberry Mint Margarita, photo and recipe courtesy Sipp Sparkling Organics.

Blackberry Mint Margarita, photo and recipe courtesy Sipp Sparkling Organics.

We started the taste test out by mixing the Sipp sodas with Vodka. The Zesty Orange was my favorite, combining the flavors of blood orange, lime and jalapeno for a spicy yet lightly sweet cocktail. I also really liked the Mojo Berry (inspired by a berry Mojito), a layering of blackberry, mint and lime flavors. Lemon Flower (with lemon, Elderflower and tarragon) was another crowd favorite, but each flavor had its fans. Ginger Blossom (with ginger, vanilla and lime flavors) was my favorite without the vodka and Ruby Rose (with grapefruit, honey and rosemary) and Summer Pear (with pear, green tea and honey flavors) were also quite good.

The Ginger Blossom was also tasty with Rum and the Zesty Orange paired well with Tequila. We’ll do some more experimenting soon.

Meanwhile, Sipp has a some more complicated recipes to try on the website, including a Blackberry Mint Margarita, Zesty Orange Margarita, Pear Vanilla Cocktail, Lemon Flower Martini, Pomegranite Mojo Lemondrop, Winter Spritzer Punch, Lemon Flower Sparkler and more.

Lemon Flower Sparkler from Sipp Eco Beverage Co. on Vimeo.

I hope you check out Sipp and let us know what you think. Cheers! Click here for more cocktail corner columns.

Leslie Dinaberg

When she’s not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie considers herself a “goal-oriented drinker.”

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on January 5, 2018.

Cocktail Corner: Seasonal Spirits at the Good Bar

The Good Bar's "Pick Me Up Jalisco," courtesy photo.

The Good Bar’s “Pick Me Up Jalisco,” courtesy photo.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic!  By Leslie Dinaberg

One of the best local places to hang out is the Good Bar, an intimate lounge in Goleta’s Goodland Hotel (5650 Calle Real) with cozy couches and chairs, a billiards table and backgammon boards.

Try one their new seasonal cocktails, like the Pick Me Up Jalisco (pictured above), which features Herradura Reposado Tequila, St. George Nola coffee liqueur, orgeat, cinnamon syrup and cold brew coffee topped with fresh whipped cream. Yum! 

Tequila not your cup of tea? Try Parkyour Car Don’t Drive, with Aviation Overproof Gin, St. George spiced pear liqueur and dolin blanc Vermouth, or the Copper Nail, made with Dewars Scotch, Grand Poppy Bitter Liqueur, Falernum (a sweet syrup used in Caribbean and tropical drinks) and plum bitters.

Happy Hour is Mon.-Fri. from 4-6 p.m. and Trivia Night Wednesdays start at 7 p.m. Check out this cool place and let us know what you think.

Cheers! Click here for more cocktail corner columns.

Leslie Dinaberg

When she’s not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie considers herself a “goal-oriented drinker.”

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on December 29, 2017.

Cocktail Corner: Oh Hanukkah!

The final 8 Days {an Edible Hanukkah Collaboration} takes places on Dec. 19 at K’Syrah Catering & Events, courtesy photo.

The final 8 Days {an Edible Hanukkah Collaboration} takes place on Dec. 19 at K’Syrah Catering & Events, courtesy photo.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic!  By Leslie Dinaberg

The first night of Hanukkah is December 12, and that night also kicks off an awesome edible Hanukkah collaboration between two Santa Ynez Valley Chefs—PICO’s Drew Terp and Brooke Stockwell of K’Syrah Catering & Events—on an eight-day foodie fest building up to a final eight-course, seated dinner with wine pairings—featuring some of Santa Barbara Wine Country’s Jewish winemakers.

The “8 Days” event begins on December 12, with the first Hanukkah candle at PICO restaurant (458 Bell St., Los Alamos) and Chef Drew’s reveal of a new Hanukkah-themed dish hinting at the courses destined for the final night’s seated, eight-course dinner. Diners at PICO will be able to view all six nights’ special dishes, but will only be able to order the dishes as they are “lit”–in other words, “Dish #1” will be available on night one and all subsequent nights, whereas on night three, guests will be able to order Dish #1, #2 and/or #3. In addition, winemakers scheduled to pour at the final night’s event will pour their wines at PICO on select nights of candles one through six.  

The last two evenings of 8 Days {an Edible Hanukkah Collaboration} take place at K’Syrah Catering & Events, courtesy photo.

The last two evenings of 8 Days {an Edible Hanukkah Collaboration} take place at K’Syrah Catering & Events, courtesy photo.

Then, on Monday, December 18, the second-to-last night of Hanukkah, the holiday party travels to K’Syrah Catering & Events’ venue (478 4th Pl., Solvang), where a ticketed reception will showcase eight different Hanukkah-inspired plates in a passed hors d’oeuvres format. A cash bar will also be available that evening, offering a full bar plus creative craft cocktails entailing ingredients traditionally used in Jewish holiday celebrations. Tickets for the food portion of the evening of December 18 are $25 per person if purchased through December 13, or $30 per person if purchased after December 13 or at the event entrance, and are available at 8-days-edible-hanukkah-collaboration.eventbrite.com. (Cash cocktail bar is not included in the ticket price.)

The finale takes place on Tuesday, December 19 at K’Syrah Catering & Events and includes an eight-course collaborative Hanukkah menu from Chef Drew and Chef Brooke and an optional selection of associated wine pairings. 

Here’s the delicious sounding “8 Days” Finale Menu” (Wine Pairings TBA)

1 — Potato latke, smoked salmon, black pepper, salmon chicharrónes, crème fraîche, chive oil

2 — Roasted beet salad, honey vinaigrette, goat cheese crouton

3 — Fritto Misto (zucchini, winter squash, apple, fennel, with sage brown butter emulsion)

4 — Savory Kugel (kale, cipollini, gruyere, challah breadcrumbs)

5 — Parsnip latke, grilled quail, pomegranate, with charoset

6 — Braised brisket, fermented apple sauce, grilled root vegetables, smoked sunchoke cream, crispy taro root

7 — Olive oil cake, cherry soup, bay leaf chantilly lace

8 — Apple beignet, dulce de leche, sour cream ice milk

Tickets for the Tuesday, December 19 finale event run $85 per person with optional wine pairings for an additional $40 per person, and are available at 8-days-edible-hanukkah-collaboration.eventbrite.com (advance ticket purchase is required).

Courtesy 8 Days {an Edible Hanukkah Collaboration}.

Courtesy 8 Days {an Edible Hanukkah Collaboration}.

Are you cooking your own meal this Hanukkah? Israel’s leading wineries just released a food and wine-pairing guide for the holiday, offering an innovative spin on matching wine with traditional Hanukkah dishes.

The guide, from Israel’s Golan Heights and Galil Mountain wineries, and their North American importer, Yarden Inc., calls for creative pairings such as gewurztraminer with potato latkes and sour cream. “The spicy and off-dry notes of the gewurztraminer will accentuate the subtle spices of the latkes,” the wineries suggest. “The medium-bodied viscosity will work great with the cream.”

However, if you are among those who prefer applesauce with your potato pancakes, the wineries suggest sauvignon blanc should be your go-to bottle. “You will want a bit more acidity to go with the underlying acidity in the applesauce,” the guide says. “The dryness of the sauvignon blanc will make the applesauce taste slightly sweeter; and the grass and herbal notes will bring out the earthiness of the potato.”

Other creative twists include viognier with sweet potato latkes and applesauce, and chardonnay with zucchini latkes and sour cream. For those who prefer to head straight to the classic jelly doughnuts, the wineries suggest a moscato as “the perfect foil.” Download the entire, free guide here.

Cheers! Click here for more cocktail corner columns.

Leslie Dinaberg

When she’s not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie considers herself a “goal-oriented drinker.”

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on December 6, 2017. 

Cocktail Corner: National Apple Cider Day

Ginger Whiskey Cider, courtesy Brooklyn Crafted.

Ginger Whiskey Cider, courtesy Brooklyn Crafted.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic!  By Leslie Dinaberg

Saturday November 18 is National Apple Cider Day. In honor of this auspicious holiday, we’ve got a tasty recipe for Ginger Whiskey Cider, courtesy of Brooklyn Crafted Ginger Beer.

I’m a big fan on using this new super spicy ginger beer in Moscow Mules—and they have a sugar free version—but it’s also a great compliment for cider. Check it out and let me know what you think.

Courtesy Brooklyn Crafted Ginger Beer.

Courtesy Brooklyn Crafted Ginger Beer.

GINGER WHISKEY CIDER

Courtesy of Brooklyn Crafted

  • 2 oz. Hard Cider
  • 1 oz. Whiskey
  • Ginger Beer, to fill
  • Crushed Ice

Directions

In a 12-16 oz. high ball glass, combine the hard cider and whiskey. Fill the glass with crushed ice and top with Brooklyn Crafted. 

Cheers! Click here for more cocktail corner columns.

Leslie Dinaberg

When she’s not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie considers herself a “goal-oriented drinker.”

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on November 17, 2017.

Cocktail Corner: Cheers to Fall Cocktails at S.Y. Kitchen

S.Y. Kitchen's new Kiwi-Tini, photo by Elisabetta Antonacci.

S.Y. Kitchen’s new Kiwi-Tini, photo by Elisabetta Antonacci.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic!  By Leslie Dinaberg

Autumn is such a beautiful time of year in the Santa Ynez Valley. Why not toast the season with one of General Manager and Mixologist Alberto Battaglini‘s delicious and creative new fall cocktails at S.Y. Kitchen!

S.Y. Kitchen's new Fig & Licorice Margarita, photo by Elisabetta Antonacci.

S.Y. Kitchen’s new Fig & Licorice Margarita, photo by Elisabetta Antonacci.

Now available are five new fall cocktails inspired by autumn’s seasonal local market produce, herbs and botanicals. In addition to the restaurant’s impressive list of specialty drinks, Kiwi-Tini; Pom-Passion; Fig & Licorice Margarita; Honey & Berry Sour; and the Kiwi Caipirinha are now on the menu, designed to complement the acclaimed cuisine by Executive Chef Luca Crestanelli. 

S.Y. Kitchen's new Pom-Passion, photo by Elisabetta Antonacci.

S.Y. Kitchen’s new Pom-Passion, photo by Elisabetta Antonacci.

Battaglini is renowned for his infusions of spirits and bitters from a local bounty of fruits, vegetables and herbs. He says, “The soul of mixology is found in all the old recipes that we twist with modern ingredients and tools, in order to play with tastes to give every customer an extraordinary experience.”

S.Y. Kitchen's new Kiwi Caipirinha, photo by Elisabetta Antonacci.

S.Y. Kitchen’s new Kiwi Caipirinha, photo by Elisabetta Antonacci.

It’s hard to pick a favorite, the Kiwi-Tini is made with kiwi, vodka, lime & parsley, while the Pom-Passion is a mixture of pomegranate, basil, gin, lemon & simple syrup. The Fig & Licorice Margarita has fig, licorice, tequila, lime & agave; the Honey & Berry Sour has crème de mûre, gin, lemon, honey, egg white & violet; and Kiwi Caipirinha is made with kiwi, cachaca, lime & sugar.

S.Y. Kitchen's new Honey & Berry Sour, photo by Elisabetta Antonacci.

S.Y. Kitchen’s new Honey & Berry Sour, photo by Elisabetta Antonacci.

Try them all … and let us know what you think! S.Y. Kitchen is located at 1110 Faraday St., Santa Ynez, 805/691-9794, sykitchen.com.

Cheers! Click here for more cocktail corner columns.

Leslie Dinaberg

When she’s not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie considers herself a “goal-oriented drinker.”

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on November 10, 2017.  

Cocktail Corner: Sukari Spirits

Sukari Spirits, courtesy photo.

Sukari Spirits, courtesy photo.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic!  By Leslie Dinaberg

Vodka is one of the most versatile spirits around, so it always fun to try out a new bottle. Sukari Spirits has created an ultra-premium vodka that’s infused with super fruit flavors of natural dragon fruit, pear, pineapple and blood orange. 

The fruit flavors are subtle but tasteful enough to make it a great solo sipping spirit that also plays well with others. I made up a batch of “Tropical Punch” for a party recently, using Sukari with equal parts Pineapple juice, Orange juice, Mango juice, Guava juice and Lime juice and served it on the rocks—it was gone in minutes and people were begging for more.

Sukari Spirits, courtesy photo.

Sukari Spirits, courtesy photo.

It also paired well with soda, Grapefruit juice Cranberry juice, tonic and flavored bubbly waters from Perrier and Le Croix. Pretty much anything we tried!

Sukari is a little lighter than most vodkas (25% alcohol by volume versus an industry average of about 40%), so it’s a little more health conscious. It’s also gluten free, with no added sugar, artificial colors or unnatural ingredients, and is distilled five times and filtered five times through natural lava rock using naturally purified water from the Cascade Mountains of Bend, Oregon.

Owner Rolesha Brown has based Sukari Spirits in California and the company is a woman-owned, minority, service-connected disabled veteran-owned business, which is always nice to throw some support to when we like the product!

For more information about Sukari Spirits,  visit www.sukarispirits.com.

Cheers! Click here for more cocktail corner columns.

Leslie Dinaberg

When she’s not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie considers herself a “goal-oriented drinker.”

 Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on October 27, 2017.

 

Cocktail Corner: New Lead Mixologist Brings Creative Concoctions to Outpost

Cocktails from Outpost at the Goodland, courtesy photo.

Cocktails from Outpost at the Goodland, courtesy photo.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic!  By Leslie Dinaberg

Mary Valdez has taken the helm of the renowned bar program at Outpost at the Goodland, bringing a host of fun and creative new items to the already stellar menu. 

Cocktails from Outpost at the Goodland, courtesy photo.

Cocktails from Outpost at the Goodland, courtesy photo.

We checked out the first in what will be a series of seasonal beverage menus  last week, leaving ourselves in Valdez’s very capable hands. First up was her personal favorite, In Full Bloom, a refreshing and playful cocktail featuring Hendricks Gin, fresh lemon, orgeat, prickly pear shrub, angostura bitters and tonic. We also liked The Day Drinker, made with Ketel One Vodka, St. Germain, fresh watermelon and a housemade citrus cordial. The classic Aviation—made with Beefeater Gin, luxardo maraschino, lemon and creme de violet—was complex  yet balanced. We also enjoyed  the Maria Maria, made with Del Maguey Vida, jalapeno infused agave, citrus cordial, mint and ginger beer.  

Agave is Valdez’s preferred spirit of the moment, but house shrubs, syrups and fresh produce also play important roles in each drink.

Mary Valdez is the new lead bartender at Outpost at the Goodland, courtesy photo.

Mary Valdez is the new lead bartender at Outpost at the Goodland, courtesy photo.

Other seasonal standouts include the Rhubarbarian, a refreshingly spicy and citrus forward sipper with El Jimador blanco, Cointreau, togerashi, rhubarb syrup, lime and rhubarb bitters, and the herbaceous and tart Live Long and Prosper, which mixes rosemary infused Tito’s, blackberry-lime cordial and Aperol. The summer menu (which will last through September, says Valdez) includes the Easy Like a Sunday Morning, which mixes Espolon reposado, Aperol, ancho chile, and their Goodland Special, a grapefruit IPA which was brewed for them in collaboration with M Special.

Valdez has a decade of bartending experience under her belt, working behind bars on both coasts, and spending the last few years at Outpost where she was part of the opening team. Her cocktail preparation style is balanced but surprising, adding something unexpected into every creation.

Outpost at the Goodland Hotel is located 5650 Calle Real, Goleta, www.outpostsb.com.

Cheers! Click here for more cocktail corner columns.

Leslie Dinaberg

When she’s not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie considers herself a “goal-oriented drinker.”

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on September 1, 2017.

Cocktail Corner: In the Mood for Love

A special Valentines Day Cocktail from Finch & Fork, courtesy photo.

A special Valentines Day Cocktail from Finch & Fork, courtesy photo.

 

A Spirited Toast to All Things Alcoholic! By Leslie Dinaberg 

Love is in the air this month, with Valentine’s Day cocktail specials from some of our favorite mixologists. Want to get in the mood for Valentine’s Day?  Try Inconceivable! from Joe Dohany of Finch & Fork (31 W. Carrillo St. in the Canary Hotel).

“A beautiful and balanced cocktail with tequila, strawberry shrub, zucca, mezcal and soda water. It will be served in a coupe with a dehydrated strawberry on top just for Valentine’s Day.”

Kiss Me Stupid Champagne Cocktail courtesy S.Y. Kitchen.

Kiss Me Stupid Champagne Cocktail courtesy S.Y. Kitchen.

Also on tap this holiday season is a special “San Valentino Dinner” for romance at SY Kitchen (1110 Faraday St. in Santa Ynez),  as well as mixologist Alberto Battaglini’s “Kiss Me Stupid” Champagne Cocktail, “a seductive champagne cocktail of vacuum-infused strawberry juice with mint, aperol and gin, topped with champagne.”

Another favorite sipping spot, Santa Barbara Wine Collective (131 Anacapa St.) has some special tastings available for the holiday, available Feb. 10-14:

For bubble enthusiasts, Fess Parker’s ‘Fesstivity’ Sparkling Wine Flight features a Blanc de Blancs, a Brut Cuvee and a Blanc de Noirs.

Santa Barbara Wine Collective, courtesy photo

Santa Barbara Wine Collective, courtesy photo

For those that love Pinot Noir, a Pinot Noir Flight includes Ca’ Del Grevino Estate Pinot Noir, Fess Parker ‘Pommard’ Pinot Noir, Babcock ‘Slice of Heaven’ Pinot Noir and The Hilt ‘Vanguard’ Pinot Noir.

The ‘Red is for love’ Flight is perfect for red wine fans, with Fess Parker ‘Rodney’s’ Syrah, Babcock Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills, Ca’ Del Grevino Dolcetto, Notary Public Cabernet Sauvignon and The Paring ‘Red” Bordeaux Blend.

On Sunday, February 12 only, the “Little Sweet One” Tasting Flight, including Ca’ Del Grevino Estate wines (Riesling, Pinot

Raspberry Beret, courtesy Les Marchands.

Raspberry Beret, courtesy Les Marchands.

Noir, Grenache, Dolcetto & Syrah) is paired with chocolates from Heart & Sugar Confections.

The sommelier team at Les Marchands (131 Anacapa St.) is also in the mood for St. Valentine to strike, with an original cocktail known for its aphrodisiac-like qualities—The Raspberry Beret—with Plymouth Gin, Crème De Framboise, Lemon Juice & Rose Water. 

“This cocktail’s scented flavors of rose petal, spice and tart raspberry make this a classy and flirty drink for the cocktail enthusiast.”

Sounds good to me. Cheers!

Click here for more cocktail corner columns.

 

 

Leslie Dinaberg

When she’s not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie considers herself a “goal-oriented drinker.”

 Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on February 3, 2017.

 

 

Cocktail Corner: Surf and Swizzle

Holiday Cocktails by MichiBieri, courtesy Pixabay.

Holiday Cocktails by MichiBieri, courtesy Pixabay.

A Spirited Toast to All Things Alcoholic! By Leslie Dinaberg 

We’ll be taking off for the holiday season until January, but don’t worry, we plan to do lots of cocktail research between now and then.  Meanwhile, here are ten fun libation links to send you into the weekend ready for some fun.

Wine and Book Pairings From The Skimm: http://www.theskimm.com/skimm-guides/skimm-reads

Top Books for Wine Enthusiasts From Wander & Wine: http://wanderandwine.com/top-books-for-wine-enthusiasts/

Totally Instagrammable Bottles of Booze From Hello Giggles: http://hellogiggles.com/booze-bottles-that-make-perfect-gifts/

It’s Bourbon Season From The Kitchn: http://www.thekitchn.com/its-bourbon-season-10-bourbon-recipes-to-warm-you-up-recipe-roundup-179751

A Matisse-Inspired Cocktail Recipe and DIY From Design Sponge: http://www.designsponge.com/2014/10/matisse-inspired-cocktail-recipe-diy.html

Cocktail preparations by Stefan Fiesbert, cocktailpodcast.de via wikipedia commons.

Cocktail preparations by Stefan Fiesbert, cocktailpodcast.de via wikipedia commons.

Comforting Holiday Cocktails From Goop: http://goop.com/easy-holiday-cocktails/

The Perfect Cocktail Party Playlist From Apartment Therapy: http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/cocktail-party-playlist-181154

The Most Outrageous Pop-Culture Inspired Cocktails From Flavorwire: http://flavorwire.com/562955/the-most-outrageous-pop-culture-inspired-cocktails-sponsored

Feast Days, Food & Drink Poems by George Yatchisin: https://www.createspace.com/6518745

The Best Christmas Cocktails and Mocktails From Martha Stewart: http://www.marthastewart.com/856474/20-years-living-best-christmas-cocktails-and-mocktails

Cheers to Happy Holidays!

Click here for more cocktail corner columns.

Leslie Dinaberg

When she’s not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie considers herself a “goal-oriented drinker.”

 Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on December 23, 2016.

 

Cocktail Corner: Tasty Tidbits

The Lark, courtesy photo.

The Lark, courtesy photo.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! By Leslie Dinaberg

I can’t believe that summer is almost over. There’s been a lot of news on the bar beat the last few months. Here are some highlights:                

One of Santa’s Barbara’s favorite dining destinations, The Lark (131 Anacapa St.), was recognized by Wine Enthusiast in their sixth annual issue of the “Best Places to Drink Up In While Dining Out.” As a winner of the “Not to be Missed” category, The Lark was recognized for their outstanding wine program curated by Wine Directors Chris Robles and Vern Kettler. The wine list at the Lark focuses on smaller production wines made with minimal intervention from the winemaker, and which reflect a sense of place. Grape varieties for which the Santa Barbara area is known and their international counterparts are the focus. With few exceptions, all American wines are from Santa Barbara County. Wine Enthusiast editors state that “Chef Jason Paluska’s wine friendly foods are inspired by farmers’ markets—smoked pork belly, for example, might come with roasted berries, pickled summer peppers and candied brittle of fat local almonds.” The Lark is the only recipient from Santa Barbara this year, and one of 22 restaurants awarded in California. See the full list here. 

J. Wilkes Wines, courtesy photo.

J. Wilkes Wines, courtesy photo.

J. Wilkes Wines has opened a new tasting room in downtown Los Olivos at 2963 Grand Ave.  The space highlights a distinct wine tasting experience including educational aspects focusing on the region’s unique AVA’s, an entertaining quiz and private Winemaker Office Hours with winemaker Wes Hagen

The J.Wilkes brand was launched in 2001 by wine industry veteran Jefferson Wilkes and after his passing in 2010, the label was relaunched by the Miller Family, a fifth-generation California farming family, as a tribute to Jefferson’s unwavering love of the region.  J. Wilkes, under the guidance of accomplished winemaker Hagen, is dedicated to producing wines from the greatest American Viticultural Areas (AVA’s) on the Central Coast.  Their new tasting room and education center in Los Olivos boasts an experience that gives insight into these regions and their wines and provides visitors with information about the area’s AVA’s including Santa Maria Valley, Sta. Rita Hills and Paso Robles.  

At long last, bottles of Cutler’s spirits are now available for purchase in the tasting room.

Cutler courtesy photo

Ian Cutler, courtesy photo

You can now come directly to the distillery to purchase your local favorite spirits. Personally, I’m partial to the spicy, cinnamon-tastic, delicious Grandma Tommie’s Apple Pie Liqueur,  but Cutler’s Artisan Spirits also has its own Gin, Vodka and 33 Bourbon Whiskey, all of which are high quality and locally produced. (the tasting room and distillery is at 137 Anacapa St., Suite D, in the heart of Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone).

Some of the fare at Lama Dog and the Nook, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Some of the fare at Lama Dog and the Nook, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

 

 

 

The first two tenants at The Waterline, a commercial mixed-use project at 116-122 Santa Barbara St. in the Funk Zone, have opened for business and both have quickly become local favorites: the Nook by Master Chef Norbert Schulz, and Lama Dog Tap Room and Bottle Shop. Craft beers (and a few wines) paired with fabulous, high quality food is a win-win for the area. Try the House-Made Bratwurst or the Rock Fish Tacos with one of 20 interesting rotating beers on tap.

Ah … it’s a great way to keep that summer feeling going all year long!

Cheers! Click here for more cocktail corner columns.

Leslie Dinaberg

When she’s not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie considers herself a “goal-oriented drinker.”

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine on September 2, 2016.