Bartender Milo Wolf has an interesting résumé. He drives and pilots the Land Shark around Santa Barbara, he hosts trivia nights and, for over a decade, he has poured drinks at 30 E. Victoria Street. That address, of course, used to be Pascual’s, which was the kind of watering hole where the shutters would come up in the morning and customers were ready for a drink. It has been home to Trattoria Vittoria for three good years now, and Milo is still there, albeit one night a week. Good thing we came in to try some cocktails when we did.
The Italian restaurant has some new cocktails on the menu and, of course, some favorites; the guys we wound up next to were drinking gin straight over ice. But we like a mix with our -ology, so we got ambitious.
The Tuscan Sunshine was a bit too sweet for our manly (oh-so-manly) palates, but we suspect that won’t be a problem for others. The lemon is strong with this one, like The Force. Just take Belvedere Citrus Vodka, passion fruit puree, simple syrup, lemon juice and a splash of Pellegrino. The mighty cold drink has a yellow glow and tastes like lemon punch.
A sharper drink is the Stella de Alpini, which to us looked like a pink and purple heart beating in an icy chamber. The passion fruit syrup and bitters provide the color, and the Belvedere Black Raspberry Vodka, St. Germain liqueur and fresh lime fill in the other colors and flavors. Named after the Edelweiss flower (which you can’t drink), it has floral tones coming from the Elderflower in the St. Germain (which you can drink). Another light drink, it’s suitable for summers outside or a sunny table facing Victoria Street.
We finished with the Grand Smash, which looks like a mojito, especially in the Tom Collins glass, but it certainly doesn’t taste like one. Grand Marnier fills most of the glass — a rarity among cocktails that usually use it sparingly — along with lemon and mint. Such sharpness, along with the mint and the orange liqueur, shocks the mouth at first, but it mellowed as we made our way through the drink. It’s an odd cocktail, and we suspect it will have as many wrinkled nose detractors as supporters. And for that point, we make it our Drink of the Week.
2 ounces Grand Marnier
8 mint leaves
In shaker, muddle lemon juice and mint leaves. Add Grand Marnier and ice and shake. Lightly strain into ice-filled Tom Collins glass. Garnish with mint.
30 E. Victoria St.