Northern California Foodie Haven, Mendocino, Now Cultivating Cocktail Culture

Historic MacCallum House Inn & Restaurant is now a bastion of organic cocktail culture, serving over 60 specialties featuring an innovative alchemy of exotic spirits and locally sourced ingredients.

Insiders passionate about California food & wine have known for years that Mendocino County has been at the forefront of organic practices, innovative cuisine and home to an under-the-radar but prized viticultural area, the Anderson Valley.  Now Mendocino can add cocktail capital to its cachet.   But don’t think overpriced Cosmos or frothy fare that for many aficionados actually denoted the demise of true cocktail craft.  Instead, the same innovative approach and focus on locally-harvested organic ingredients that have been such an important element of the food scene here are now the main ingredients of Mendocino’s cocktail buzz.

MacCallum House Mendocino cocktailTony de la Torre

Images: Pablo Abuliak

Word is spreading about a bar chef here, Tony de la Torre, who is wowing patrons at the Grey Whale Bar, a cozy local institution located in the historic MacCallum House Inn & Restaurant in the heart of Mendocino. Echoing the seafaring nature of the photogenic town set on a majestic headland, the restaurant and bar feature a genteel, turn-of-the-last century ambiance cultivated by riverstone fireplaces, a glassed-in porch with ocean views, and generously upholstered period furniture.

But what is quickly becoming a major draw here are the inspired concoctions being devised by barman de la Torre. Organic ingredients like red bell pepper and candy cap mushrooms are combined with pomegranate tequila, elderflower liqueur and other exotica to create re-imagined cocktails that now number over 60. If you’re curious and can’t wait until you make it to Mendocino, we have included a recipe of some favorites below. And if wine is more your thing, you won’t be disappointed: The owners of the MacCallum House have not only created an award-winning wine list at the restaurant, they also operate Mendo Wine Tours so you can get out an experience the best of the Anderson Valley.

Follow MacCallum House and Tony on Facebook to learn about his latest concoctions as well as be entered for a stay worth $1,000 at the Inn!

More wandermelon articles on Mendocino.

MacCallum House Cocktail Recipes

ELDERFLOWER MARTINI
Ingredients
2 oz Square One Cucumber Vodka
1 oz St Germain Elderflower Liqueur
½ oz fresh lemon juice
4 dashes Fee Brothers West Indian Orange Bitters
½ oz Roederer Estate Sparkling Wine
1 dried rose buds (for garnish)
3 dried rose hips (for garnish)
6-8 oz Martini glass

Preparation:
Fill mixing glass with ice, add all ingredients. Shake well, and strain into martini glass. Garnish with rose bud and rose hips.

JALAPEÑO CAIPIRINHA
Ingredients
2 oz Sagatiba Pura Cachaca
2 oz fresh lime juice
2 lime wedges
1 teaspoon fresh chopped red and green jalapeño pepper
1 teaspoon raw sugar
Garnish with thin slice round of red and green jalapeño pepper
6-8 oz Martini glass

Preparation:
Muddle jalapeño with lime wedges, lime juice and sugar in a cocktail shaker. Fill with ice, add Sagatiba Pura Cachaca. Shake well, and strain into a martini glass. Float jalapeño rounds in glass.

THE RUBY GINGER BLOSSOM
Ingredients
2 oz Square One Organic Vodka
1 oz St Germain Elderflower Liqueur
1 oz fresh squeezed Ruby Red Grapefruit Juice
4 dashes Fee Brothers Whiskey Barrel Aged Bitters
1 teaspoon fresh ginger
Garnish: grapefruit zest spiral twist
6-8 oz Martini glass

Preparation:
Muddle ginger with splash of grapefruit juice in a cocktail shaker. Fill with ice, add vodka & Elderflower Liqueur, and grapefruit juice. Shake well, and strain into a Martini glass.

BASIL POMEGRANTE LEMON DROP
Ingredients
1 ½ oz Absolut Citron
1 oz of La Pinta Pomegranate Tequila
¾ oz fresh Sweet & Sour
2 splashes of lemon/lime soda
½ oz of lemon juice
2 teaspoons of sugar
4 leaves of basil
Garnish: lemon wedge
6-8 oz Martini glass

Preparation:
Muddle basil and raw sugar with splash of sweet & sour in a cocktail shaker. Fill with ice, add vodka and La Pinta, remaining sweet & sour and lemon/lime soda. Shake well, and strain into a Martini glass.

THE PAUL NEWMAN (My tribute to the legend)
Ingredients
2 oz. Bulleit Bourbon
1 oz organic apple juice
1oz Paul Newman’s Lemonade
3 cubes Fuji apples
½ oz fresh sweet & sour
Splash of lemon/lime soda
1 dash of cinnamon
6-8 oz Martini glass

Preparation:
Muddle Fuji apples with splash of organic apple juice and lemonade in a cocktail shaker. Fill with ice. Add bourbon, sweet & sour lemon/lime soda, cinnamon and remaining juice. Shake well, and strain into a Martini glass. Garnish with a thinly sliced apple ring.

MANHATTAN NOIR
Ingredients
2 oz Bulleit Bourbon
½ oz Cynar Artichoke Liqueur Bitters
¼ oz Navarro Pinot Noir Grape Juice Molasses (See below)
4 dashes Fee Brothers Whiskey Barrel Aged Bitters
1 flamed orange twist
6-8 oz Martini glass

Preparation:
Fill mixing glass with ice, add all ingredients. Stir very well, and strain into martini glass. Garnish with flamed orange twist.

**To Make Navarro Pinot Noir Grape Juice Molasses
4 cups grape juice
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

Place the grape juice, sugar and lemon juice in a 4-quart saucepan set over medium heat. Cook, stirring
occasionally, until the sugar has completely dissolved. Once the sugar has dissolved, reduce the heat to medium low and cook until the mixture has reduced to 1 cup, approximately 70 minutes. It should be the consistency of thick syrup. Remove from the heat and allow to cool in the saucepan for 30 minutes. Transfer to a glass jar and allow to cool completely before covering and storing in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.

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