Dana Walters keeps evolving her funk zone space, Reds Wine Bar, as the area evolves. For years, it was a well traversed coffee shop. Then, Walters changed it into a wine bar to sync with the Kalyra tasting room located behind Reds, and to fit in with the growth in tasting rooms nearby. Having managed that, Walters started the process of attaining a liquor license, putting herself down for the lottery. Now that she has that paper in hand, who should turn up but those boozy reprobates! That is, us.
Now, Reds is not slinging drinks like a Friday night at EOS. The atmosphere is more like a good friend making a drink for you in their kitchen. So we put Walters through her paces. Could she handle our demands?
First up was the Reds Old Fashioned, which comes full of blood oranges and is decidedly redder than any O.F. we’ve had before. Its combo of bitterness and sugar cubes balances with the quite identifiable taste of Jack Daniels. A full orange wheel floats inside the glass, too. Walters notes that the JD can be replaced with any other name bourbon on hand.
We also get to try a Three-Citrus Margarita, which adds doses of orange and blood orange juice to the usual lime juice extra. (Yes, that does mean the drink will be very different once blood orange season is over.) Walters’ choice for tequila is Hornitos, and instead of triple sec, we step up to Patron Citronge. The citrus comes at us full frontal in this drink, and the tequila is very subtle. It is definitely a favorite of recent margaritas, we think.
We end with the pint glass-sized Bloody Mary. Some places make it spicy, some places make it boozy, but Reds gets first prize for most garnishes, and it almost strikes us as a full salad. Pepper-stuffed olives, pickled asparagus, pickled beans, celery and shrimp. Yep! Shrimp. It’s a bit Vegas, this drink. So how does it taste? It manages to retain its simplicity of vodka and tomato juice and leaves much to munch on. This has already been a hit with the limited number of customers, and we like it, too. The next level of Red’s is here; let’s hope they can handle our Drink of the Week’s popularity.
Bloody Mary Mix recipe:
1 quart tomato juice
1 tbsp garlic
2 tsp Horseradish
Dash of celery salt
2 shakes of Tabasco
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
Mix equal parts Bloody Mary Mix and vodka (Ketel One) over ice in pint glass with celery salt rim. Garnish with two cooked shrimp, pickled asparagus, pickled green bean, spicy jalapeno-stuffed olives (Los Olivos Sedona brand), celery.
RED’S WINE BAR
211 Helena St.
Santa Barbara, CA