DRINK OF THE WEEK : The Marquee’s EL JEFE

Photo by Nik Blaskovich
Photo by Nik Blaskovich

This Mother’s Day, friends, let us wish this upon you: May your mother stay consistent in all the great things she does, but also constantly surprise you.

Here’s an example: My mom knows how to roast a mean chicken and potatoes with lashings of gravy. And recently joined an improv group and is gearing up for a live show. Just when you think you’ve got your family figured out, they do this.

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DRINK OF THE WEEK: Cafe Del Sol’s Strawberry or Mango Blended Margarita

Strawberry or Mango Blended Margarita
Strawberry or Mango Blended Margarita

Remember spring? No, we don’t either. It was a scorcher the other day, but as it started to cool down, we here at Drink of the Week got on our bikes for a ride alongside our fabulous beach, down toward the Bird Refuge. It was just another reminder that we’re lucky to live here and do not have to only visit for the weekend.

Our ride ended at Cafe del Sol, which has a very nice happy hour during the weekdays and a beautiful view over the estuary every day. And they remembered us from our visit many years ago. Even bartender Kyler Barbee remembered our faces and told us he’s read every column since.
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DRINK OF THE WEEK: Dargan’s Patrick’s Pride

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Ah, the luck of the Irish! Or, shall we say, the luck of the Drink of the Week team, to walk into Dargan’s when bartender Patrick Owens was tending to his flock. Indeed, to impress a birthday girl over at a corner table, we watched him fold up a napkin and tuck it under his black shirt collar, making him look like a vicar. We knew right then that this witty man would rise to our St. Patrick’s Day challenge of an appropriate cocktail.
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Drink of the Week: Bar Seven’s Old Fashioned

Photo by Nik Blaskovich/News-Press
Photo by Nik Blaskovich/News-Press

A year in the life of a bar in downtown Santa Barbara is like dog years: impressive. The fickle forces of commerce, that right combination of newness and familiarity, the magical price point to draw in customers, keep them, and also to keep paying rent is a tricky thing to do. And to do it in the rapidly gentrifying and expensive Funk Zone? Well, that’s a thing all to itself.
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DRINK OF THE WEEK: Alison Reide’s Two of Hearts

Two of Hearts NIK BLASKOVICH/NEWS-PRESS
Two of Hearts
NIK BLASKOVICH/NEWS-PRESS

Chocolate and strawberries. Strawberries and chocolate. Is there a better traditional combo for Valentine’s Day?

We softies at Drink of the Week say no, precisely because even if our hearts are broken at least we have chocolate to eat and maybe some strawberries to blend into pancakes. So when we got to talking to Alison Reide, host of the cupcake and champagne tastings at Corks & Crowns, about her plans for V-Day, we had to have her design a cocktail. Last year, she made us the Valentini, but this time we challenged her to top that.

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DRINK OF THE WEEK: Bourbon Room’s Buckin’ Bronco

 NIK BLASKOVICH/NEWS-PRESS
NIK BLASKOVICH/NEWS-PRESS

We have no skin in the Superbowl over here at Drink of the Week. We’re neither secretly rooting for Seattle nor Denver, so we think that makes us qualified to make this totally unscientific prediction for Sunday’s game, based entirely on cocktails.

We took up with Anna Sacks over at the Bourbon Room to help us out, with the request: make one cocktail for each team, we’d taste test, and — just like that octopus that predicted the World Cup — the winning cocktail team will obviously go on to win the Big Game. Yes, that’s right! (All psychic predictions are for entertainment value only, as they say.)

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DRINK OF THE WEEK: Blue Tavern’s Bloodsugarsexmagik

NIK BLASKOVICH/NEWS-PRESS
NIK BLASKOVICH/NEWS-PRESS

So here’s the way the world (sometimes) works. Deysi Alvarez was born in El Salvador, raised in Colombia, and finds her way much later to Los Angeles, but the apartment she lives in downtown is right above Rivera, one of the premiere South American restaurants. She ditches her real estate career to learn everything she can about mixology, by hook or by bloody crook. And several restaurants later, here she is, in charge of Blue Tavern’s cocktail list (as well as several down in L.A.).

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Drink of the Week: Apero’s Smoking Bulliet

NIK BLASKOVICH/NEWS-PRESS
NIK BLASKOVICH/NEWS-PRESS

Lower State Street giveth and it taketh away: Apéro opened last week downtown in the spot formerly known as Verdé, formerly known as Zia Cafe. Yes, we know, Verdé wasn’t even here a year and now it’s toast. Santa Barbara is a harsh mistress for those in the restaurant trade. But Anthony Van Daele has been thinking of his idea for a while and hopes that his Western European tapas and appetizers way of thinking, coupled with an open-late bar on State Street, will bring in those wanting a late-night bite but not wanting to go clubbing.

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Drink of the Week: Sly’s Old Man

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Photo by Nik Blaskovich

We feel bad when we miss Sly’s annual celebration of Repeal Day. (It happens that we’re celebrating it our own way. ‘Nuff said.) So we rectified that before the end of the year by swinging by the venerable Carpinteria joint and pleading with Mandy Huffaker Chinn for a copy of their coveted secret cocktail list. This is the list that only true Repealers get to see, and we’re fortunate to be on it. Some of the drinks come from the history books, some are nicked from fellow mixologists around the country, and some are created behind the bar here. We like to keep it local, so that’s what we tried.

First up was a spin on the classic agua fresca, the Horchata. Instead, the H(orgeat)a uses Sobieski cinnamon vodka, Sly’s homemade orgeat syrup (they make a lot of it for mai tais), half ‘n half, and nutmeg on top. It matches the creamy and sweet goodness of the original, but the almond orgeat really stands out. The “Thursday” was named after two regulars who were looking for a “gluten free” cocktail, which restricts them to rum, really. But Ms. Chinn includes Aperol, Tuaca, and pineapple juice. The Aperol is there to stop things from becoming too sweet, and the juice creates a nice frothy head. But our favorite was the Old Man, which is perfect for “shouting at the kids on your lawn,” according to the list. It is a very mature and subtle mix of rye, applejack and green chartreuse, and the cocktail – from Mandy and her brother-in-law Jack – is supposed to elicits memories of Old Spice and wood. We didn’t feel too crotchety, but we loved it and think it’s the best way to start the New Year.

OLD MAN
1 1/2 oz. Old Overholt Rye
3/4 oz. Laird’s Applejack
3/4 oz. Green Chartreuse
Shake over ice and strain into coupe glass. Garnish with lemon twist.

SLY’S
686 Linden Ave., Carpinteria 684-6666
slysonline.com