Last time we visited Esther Rogers, the bartender and mixologist at Roy’s, we surprised her and she was still able to whip up some mighty fine cocktails with a gourmet eye, the kind we expect from Roy’s menu. This time, she told us, she knew we were coming. But that wasn’t the reason she had a small cocktail menu printed out — that was for the RND evening last weekend that our crew managed to catch at the last minute.
If we haven’t mentioned it before, RND vodka is our favorite local spirit. It may be the only one too, discounting the bathtub of homebrew gin I’ve been keeping a secret. Anyroad, Rogers set out to show off the spectrum of RND and we sidled up a week later to try the cocktails and see what we make of them.
First off, The Saint. The drink is crisp and clear, but with a hint of cucumber that comes from flavored syrup. Lime balances out the sweet, and a top of Sprite gives some fizz. In the glass it looks like a vodka tonic. To the tongue the cucumber comes forward and refreshes.
That’s pretty basic. The Reckless Whistle is a bit more complicated, and was first recommended to us the week before as the “orange creamsicle one.” Here, Rogers has set vodka in the service of the alcohol punch behind a pleasant mix of Cointreau, orange juice, vanilla and cream. Vodka, what vodka? You may be asking this question too late, as you’ll be too busy asking for another creamsicle. I mean, Reckless Whistle.
Finally, we tried the Bam Bam, which agrees with several other cocktails we’ve had over the years (that pineapple goes very well with blackberries, or rather Chambord). And it does so here just as well, with the vodka appearing more forward in the drink than its initial aroma would suggest. The sweet pineapple finish rounds out this interesting concoction.
So, three drinks, all showing off RND. Rogers’ skills hid the vodka behind some colorful and flavorful diversions, and perhaps that’s why we’re choosing the Reckless Whistle as our Drink of the Week.
4 ounces RND vodka
1 ounce Cointreau
1 ounce Orange juice
Splash of vanilla extract
Splash of half and half
Shake all over ice and strain into martini glass. Garnish with thin curl of orange peel.
7 W. Carrillo St.