Freshly-hacked coconuts are filled with coconut, lemongrass, lime juice, Falernum syrup, Smith & Cross rum, and Momo Kawa Moonstone Coconut Lemongrass sake. An added bonus—fresh coconut water served on the side for hydration purposes.
Cocktail Shaking at the Streat Food Park
Coconut hacking, beware of getting spritzed.
Freshly canned, ice cubes inside.
An Elixir cocktail, bottled and carbonated by September Soda.
The Carbonated Brugal Rum Cocktail
Brugal rum is infused with Numi Roiboos chai tea, and blended with Cointreau, orange juice, and fresh lime.
Streat Food Cocktails
The Drop Top from 15 Romolo
Hangar One vodka, salt, lemon, ginger, grapefruit syrup and seltzer are mixed to make a surprising cocktail with real flavor and depth.
The Modest Grouse from Craft + Commerce, San Diego
Starting out the Best of the West with a bang, Christian Siglin of San Diego served up this delicious combination of Black Grouse scotch, Averna, fuji apple syrup, fresh lime juice, and soda. Incredibly well blended, the fresh apple flavor lent a sweet tartness to the rich scotch.
Down for the Count, from RM Seafood, Las Vegas
The name doesn't lie in this only-in-Vegas cocktail. Casa Noble Anejo meets Fernet Branca in a one-two punch of a drink. Blended with St. Germain, fresh lemon, agave nectar, and Fee Bros. Aztec Chocolate Bitters, it's quite drinkable and well flavored with strong anise notes at the front, and agave-tequila at the back.
J.R. Starkus of RM Seafood, Las Vegas
Bootsy Collins from Red Rabbit, Sacramento
Chris Sinclair's refreshing drink includes Remy V, lemon, honey, soda, and tea. The simple, lemonade-like drink is lent some heft thanks to the honey and tea, and a touch of playful whimsy with hand-cut star shaped lemon peels.
Paragon of Delusions from Raven + Rose (forthcoming!), Portland
One of my top drinks of the night, David Eric Shenaut's combination of Templeton Rye, St. Germain, Dubonnete Rouge, lemon juice, and a float of Anchor Steam. The mix of rye, lemon, and the floral St. Germain was a stellar combination on its own; the clean malty Anchor Steam made it even more excellent.
David Eric Shenaut, on the right.
Twin Peaks from Jasper's Corner Tap, San Francisco
Seeing as this was San Francisco cocktail week, it was important that our hometown stepped it up. Kevin Deidrich made one hell of a showing with this drink—Highland Park 18, Fernet Branca Menthe, bare Jager, and Scrappy's Chocolate Bitters made for a smokey, lightly spiced cocktail with a lovely sweetness from the Fernet. The blend veered a little on the sweet side for me, but a touch more scotch and slightly less Fernet would have fixed this easily. Much love for the name, too.
Moonlight Drive from The Spare Room, Los Angeles
San Francisco–L.A. disputes may well be cured by this drink. Quite simply, the Moonlight Drive rocked. Pierre Ferand Cognac, Brugal Blanco Especial Rum, Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao, papaya and coconut puree, vanilla syrup, lime, and bitters (Peychauds and Angostura) are poured over crushed ice, then topped with a spear of cucumber and fresh papaya. The drink is then given a spritz of lemongrass, ylang ylang, and nutmeg, lending a serious herbal nose to the drink. Sweet, creamy, complex, and perfectly balanced, this is exactly what a tiki drink is meant to be. My neighbor at the bar put it well—"We're going to Cuba in a couple of weeks," she said. "This is what I want to be drinking."
Naomi Anne Shimek of The Spare Room; the best of the west?
Serious Eats correspondent Lauren hates cocktail week.
It's a tough job, but someone has to do it!