A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! by Leslie Dinaberg
It takes an awfully inventive mind to look at a jar of jam or marmalade and envision a cocktail, but that’s exactly what those clever folks at The Lark have done, in partnership with Chapala Farms, and the results are quite unique—and delicious!
I tried my first “Jam” over the summer, a delightful concoction of Star Ghost Chili Vodka (made locally by Ascendant Spirits in Buellton) and Chapala Farms Plum Jam. Not only was it yummy, with a nice kick of sweet and spice, I also loved the fact that Chapala Farms is an urban backyard farm venture from locals Jason Banks and Michelle Decaris, located right down the road on Chapala Street.
The Lark’s “Fall Jams” have kicked up the fun even further.
You really have to try these cocktails to fully appreciate the unique flavors and textures.
For fall, Star Ghost Chili Vodka is now combined with Chapala Farms Strawberry Passion Fruit Jam for a spicy glass of sweet deliciousness that’s unlike anything I’ve ever tasted.
We also liked the Cutler Stagecoach Whiskey (from Funk Zone local Ian Cutler‘s Cutler’s Artisan Spirits) with Chapala Farms Cinnamon, Mint, Fig Jam, a perfect holiday libation, as well as the Wilder Gin (from Ventura Spirits Company) and Chapala Farms Tangelo Jam combo.
The genesis of these clever cocktails comes from Buffalo, New York, where following a visit to a family wedding, Acme Operations Manager Dan Russo (The Lark, Lucky Penny, Les Marchands and the Santa Barbara Wine Collective) discovered Jam Cocktails, conceived at Ballyhoo, a popular Buffalo bar owned by Tim Stevens and managed by his nephew, Frank Pusateri. Russo was then
inspired to bring the concept to The Lark’s beverage program and teamed with Decaris and Banks of Chapala Farms to design distinctive summer cocktails made exclusively with local spirits— Cutler’s Artisan Spirits, Ventura Spirits and Ascendant Spirits—and a rotating menu of Chapala Farm’s premier jams and marmalades. That tradition has now continued into the fall.
“The flavors from the jams produce a subtle sweetness and tartness that is different from muddling fruits and other methods. And when combined with our Central Coast spirits they make a great … cocktail,” says Russo. All Fall Jam cocktails are priced at $11 are subject to change with seasonal harvests.
The Lark is located at 131 Anacapa St., 805/284-0370.
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Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine on November 20, 2015.
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.”