Cocktail Corner:’s Excellent Libations

Wildcat Farm to Bar Mixologist Patrick Reynolds (John Blanchette photo)

Wildcat Farm to Bar Mixologist Patrick Reynolds (John Blanchette photo)

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! By Leslie Dinaberg

Traditionally, devotes the entire month of October to celebrating the best of Santa Barbara’s cuisine with a bountiful menu of foodie fun.  This year’s epicurean excitement truly has something for everyone; including this lovely line-up of libation-related events and activities.

If you haven’t had a chance to check out Elkpen‘s beautiful, handmade chalk mural in the Funk Zone’s AVA Santa Barbara tasting room (featured in Santa Barbara SEASONS Magazine last spring), October’s a great time to visit. AVA (116 E. Yananoli St.) offers Harvest Bites (Oct. 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30), including fresh grape samples, winemaker’s comments and hearty small bites paired with Santa Barbara County wines.

As local farm-to-bar aficionados know, Wildcat mixologist Patrick Reynolds (formerly of the Hungry Cat) is a whiz with farmers’ market-fresh ingredients, creating clever craftsman cocktails with whatever looks the most appealing that day. Typically this happens on Tuesdays, as soon as the downtown market closes, but this 1st Thursday (Oct. 3) my little birds at the CVB tell me that his extra special cocktail list will be themed around sense memories of Santa Barbara. I can only imagine how the tantalizing tastes of The Goodland and Tangerine Falls will taste—until Thursday that is! Come early, these puppies are bound to be popular. Farm to Bar at Wildcat (15 W. Ortega St.) starts at 4 p.m. (goes till 9 p.m.), and these spirited specials are just $8 a pop.

Always a fun stop for foodies, at Isabella Gourmet Foods (5 E. Figueroa St.) The Great Gatsby Goes Gourmet on Oct. 7 and Oct. 21, as a master mixologist crafts specialty elixirs combining local spirits with artisan mixers from Isabella’s shelves. Get out those beaded flapper gowns because 1920s attire is encouraged, and you want to look your best in case Leonardo DiCaprio decides to show up!

On October 8, our friends at Cutler’s Artisan Spirits (137 Anacapa St., Ste. D) and Spare Parts will be Distilling the Spirits and Tastes of Santa Barbara, joining together for a one-of-a-kind evening that infuses the witty, guerrilla dining of SB’s oldest supper club with signature Cutler Cocktails made by the founder of Santa Barbara’s first legal distillery, Ian Cutler.

Experience harvest firsthand with Margerum Wine Company as you help with hand sorting and crushing grapes, yeasting and inoculating ferments, laboratory analysis, plunging and punch down ferments. As Winemaker for a Day (59 Industrial Way, Buellton) (available Oct. 11 and Oct. 25), you’ll end the festivities with barrel tasting and the opportunity to blend your own wine—and take home a bottle to show off to your friends.

Whew … believe it or not, this is a just a taste of all of the fun has to offer. For more details, click here.


Photo Credit: Wildcat Farm to Bar Mixologist Patrick Reynolds, photo by John Blanchette.

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Leslie Dinaberg

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.”