Photo by Nik Blaskovich
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you … a cocktail. Yes, we’re paraphrasing, but on this great Labor Day, isn’t this one of our great luxuries in life, enshrined in the Constitution to boot? And shouldn’t we go in search of cocktails made by those who have labored, readily, to provide excellent drinks to several generations?
Yes, we thought so too. That’s how we got in touch with Steve Velliotes, who has tended bar at Joe’s on State Street since 1988. His resume lists several heavyweight Santa Barbara venues that are still with us like Harry’s and The Sportsman, and many that are not: Mom’s and El Patio (where Best Western is on Cabrillo). And another called Tony’s Log Cabin. Never heard of it? It used to sit where Joe’s is now, and Mr. Velliotes’ grandfather used to run it. In fact, bartending “is in the blood,” he says, and that’s the kind of labor on Labor Day we’re toasting: working-class Americans passing down knowledge from generation to generation. And from that knowledge springs Steve’s Mai Tai, his greatest hit, and full of classic tiki goodness, sweet and fruity and even containing Trader Vic’s mai tai mix, surely a blast from the past. This Labor Day, let’s give a nod to the generations that make our drinks and often lend an ear to our problems. And don’t forget to tip!
STEVE’S MAI TAI at JOE’S CAFE
2 1/2 ounces dark rum (preferably Myers’s)
3/4 ounce white rum (preferably Palo Viejo)
1/2 ounce mai tai mix (preferably Trader Vic’s)
1/2 ounce pineapple juice
1/4 ounce orange juice
2 drops grenadine
Add all ingredients over ice, shake and pour into lowball glass. Garnish with lime wedge and cherry.
536 State St. 966-4638 or www.joescafesb.com