COCKTAILS: Take a Sip (To Go)
Written by Kim Hashemi
Our wondrous city is home to an inspiring cocktail scene—skilled mixologists bring masterful creations to our restaurants and bars routinely. On a quest to discover the freshest cocktail offerings, I visit Bettina, The Lark, and Flor De Maiz and convene my prepared drinks to enjoy from the comforts of my backyard. First up on the tasting: a Black Manhattan from Bettina.
Crafted with bourbon, nocino, sweet vermouth, aromatic bitters and Amarena cherries, the cocktail is a lively and robust start to this tasting. The warm tones of the walnut infused nocino round out the libation, giving it an earthy appeal.
The next cocktail is a crowd pleaser: not too sweet, not too spicy. The blood orange hue of Bettina’s Paper Plane libation reminds me of an Aperol Spritz, but this aperitif is much more complex—a boon to warm day cocktails. Sweet aromatics from the bourbon play off nicely with the citrus forward Amara Rossa and lemon juice. It tastes like summer in Sicily.
Sweet aromatics from the bourbon play off nicely with the citrus forward Amara Rossa and lemon juice. It tastes like summer in Sicily.
An enthusiast of all things spicy, my next sip, from The Lark, gets my taste buds tingling. A bracing blend of bell pepper infused vodka mixed with a kick of chili, balanced by ginger, lemon, and yellow chartreuse, makes the Mission Bells a refreshing and bright drink, yet one strong enough to awaken the senses.
I’m enticed by the blushing pink hues of JP’s Paloma. Visually appealing as it is tasty, the equilibrium of citrus and spiciness from the jalapeño, grapefruit soda, and citrus infused tequila makes the flavors even more profound—a quintessential afternoon sipper.
Speaking of afternoon sippers, this next one’s a spa in a glass. Bringing together meyer lemon infused vodka, persian cucumber, ginger beer, and brightened with a sprig of mint, The California Mule is a delightful refresher.
From spa to spice, my taste buds are kicked back into gear with Margarita Tamarindo Con Chile from Flor De Maiz. The chile de arbol garnish echoes the spice of the serrano infused tequila and the lime juice gives it a sour bite.
An ideal finale, the tasting comes to a close with the tart and tangy Blackberry Casis Margarita, which is like a liquid Jolly Rancher. Sure to satisfy any sweet tooth, the libation pairs blackberry casis, Patron, and organic agave syrup with piquant flavors of mint and lime juice. I sip my final cocktail to the harmonized frolic of the pink and orange skies, yet another awe-inspiring sunset in this paradise we call home.
Whether you’re inspired to do your own at-home cocktail tasting or enthused to add on a cocktail (or few) to your next takeout order, you’ll be supporting our local restaurants and treating your taste buds to some magic. Just add ice. Cheers!