Golden State Tipples
These drinks feature the freshest local ingredients found along California’s coast.
Recipe courtesy Grey Whale Bar, Mendocino, CA
The Grey Whale Bar adheres to the local, sustainable ethos of Chef Alan Kantor, who, when seeking a sparkler to add effervescence to this martini, goes straight to his Mendocino neighbors at Roederer Estate.
2 ounces Skyy vodka
1 ounce St-Germain
½ ounce fresh-squeezed lemon juice
½ ounce Roederer Estate sparkling wine
4 dashes of orange bitters
Dried rose bulb and rose petals, for garnish
Fill a shaker with ice.
Add the first five ingredients. Shake well and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with 1 dried rose bulb and rose petals and serve.
Recipe courtesy The Girl & The Fig, Sonoma, CA
Owner Sondra Bernstein and her crew draw inspiration from the ingredients reaped from the three-acre farmland they tend for the restaurant
1 ounce honey
1 tablespoon bee pollen
1 tablespoon sugar
1 sprig rosemary
½ ounce lemon juice
1¼ ounces vodka
1 ounce white cranberry juice
½ ounce white peach purée
Add a little boiling water to 1 ounce of honey to thin. Then allow to cool. Mix together the bee pollen and sugar and rim the glass with it. Muddle the rosemary and lemon juice in a glass, then fill with ice. Add the vodka, white cranberry juice, white peach purée and ½ ounce of the honey mixture. Stir and serve.
Recipe courtesy The Thomas, Napa, CA
Mixmaster Naren Young uses basil picked fresh from The Thomas’ garden co-op at nearby COPIA to lend herbal punch to this drink.
½ ounce basil syrup
1½ ounces Caña Brava rum
¾ ounce lime juice
½ ounce Bénédictine
½ ounce cucumber purée
5 thin slices of cucumber
To make the basil syrup, simmer a handful of basil leaves in a cup of simple suyrup for 30 minutes and cool. In a shaker with ice add all the liquids. Shake and strain into a coupe glass. Top with the cucumber slices.
Recipe courtesy Oasis Bar, Amador City, CA
This drink, a rendezvous of French and American spirits, mirrors Golden State vintners’ mastery of French grape varieties, as well as the duality of the cocktail’s creator, bartender Pete Hertog, who’s also a minister.
1 ounce Wild Turkey Bourbon
½ ounce Domaine De Canton Ginger Liqueur
Dash of ginger ale
Fill a highball glass with ice. Combine Wild Turkey and Domaine De Canton in a shaker. Pour mixture into glass, top with ginger ale and serve.
Recipe courtesy Sauced BBQ & Spirits, Livermore, CA
Bartender Anthony Butler built this refreshing cocktail for guests to enjoy while lounging al fresco in downtown Livermore where the weather is near-perfect most of the year.
1 slice of watermelon
3 cucumber slices
1½ ounces Pinnacle Cucumber Watermelon Vodka
1 ounce Hiram Walker Watermelon Sour Schnapps
1 ounce fresh-squeezed lemon juice
½ ounce of simple syrup
In a shaker, muddle the watermelon and cucumber slices. Add ice and the watermelon vodka, Schnapps, lemon juice and simple syrup. Shake and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with watermelon and cucumber slices and serve.
Recipe courtesy Sardine Factory, Monterey, CA
The Sardine Factory has been a fixture in Monterey for 45 years and “Big Mike” Kolpaczyk has been a fixture behind its bar for 40 of them. His signature tropical elixir, the Blue Sardine, is as deliciously fruity as it is colorful.
1 ounce gin
½ ounce Hypnotiq liqueur
½ ounce Peachtree schnapps
½ ounce blue Curaçao
¼ ounce Rose’s lime juice
Fill a shaker with ice. Combine all of the ingredients. Shake, strain into a martini glass and serve.
Recipe courtesy Woodbridge Crossing, Lodi, CA
In her 20-plus years of bartending, Woodbridge Crossing’s Veronica Agnew has learned it’s best to keep things simple. It allows her region’s ripe local bounty—in this case, blueberries—to shine on their own tasty merits.
1½ ounces vodka,
1½ ounces sweet-and-sour mix
Splash of triple sec
Blueberries, for garnish
Lemon slice, for garnish
In a shaker, combine the vodka, sweet-and-sour mix and triple sec. Add ice, shake and strain into a sugar-rimmed martini glass. Garnish with fresh blueberries and a slice of lemon.
Recipe courtesy Ella, Sacramento, CA
Bartender Chris Dooley enjoys being in what he terms “the farm-to-fork capital of the country.” When mixing up his quintessential Sacramento cocktail, he uses local lemon and mint, plus strawberries grown in Ella’s backyard.
1½ ounces Mount Gay Aged Rum
1 ounce strawberry purée
½ ounce fresh-squeezed lemon juice
3 dashes of vanilla Angostura bitters
Sparkling wine, to top
Fresh mint, for garnish
In a shaker, combine the rum, strawberry purée, lemon juice and bitters. Add ice, shake and double strain into a large old fashioned glass. Top with the sparkling wine (preferably Domaine Chandon Brut). Garnish with fresh mint and serve.
Recipe courtesy bartender and Cal Poly graduate Josh Christensen, San Luis Obispo, CA
½ cup granulated sugar, for simple syrup
2 ounces London dry gin,
½ ounce fresh lemon juice
1 ounce red wine
Whisk together ½ cup granulated sugar and ¼ cup water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Fill a shaker with ice and pour the gin, lemon juice and ½ ounce of the reserved simple syrup. Shake and strain into a cocktail glass. Pour 1 ounce red wine over a bar spoon and into the glass (preferably Folkway Revelator—a red blend made in Arroyo Grande). The wine will float atop the cocktail. Serve immediately.
Recipe courtesy Anchor Woodfire Kitchen & Bar, Santa Barbara, CA
Mixologist Patrick Reynolds builds drinks from edibles found on local hikes. He also leads drinkers on hikes around the Santa Barbara Farmers Market, where he procures fruits, vegetables and herbs to fashion into on-the-fly tipples.
½ ounce fresh-squeezed lime juice
½ ounce simple syrup
Dash of Angostura bitters
1 sage leaf
2 ounces Bourbon whiskey
Sage leaf, for garnish
Pour the lime juice, simple syrup and Angostura bitters into a shaker. Add the blackberry and sage leaf and muddle. Add the Bourbon whiskey and shake. Strain into a glass filled with ice, garnish with the sage leaf and serve.
- 1Elderflower Martini
- 2Spring Antidote
- 3Garden Daiquiri
- 4Hillbilly Highball
- 5Cucumber Watermelon Lemonade
- 6Blue Sardine
- 7Blueberry Drop
- 8The Castaway
- 9Central Coast Sour Sidecar
- 10The Back Country