Bucatini’s Briannastini

Nik Blaskovich / News-Press
Nik Blaskovich / News-Press

There’s no bar at Bucatini, unless you count the divider that looks into the prep area and the pizza oven. After all, watching all those delicious pizzas going in there and coming out oozing with cheese and sauce is not exactly conducive to drinking. But, mamma mia, this corner restaurant on Haley and State has a cocktail menu that it’s proud of, and they have the long-term workers to prove it.

The Farmers Market on Tuesdays means fresh ingredients at the front door, and Eddie Chavez tries to incorporate many of them into his drinks. Chavez has been here as manager for three years, after moving on from an eight-year stint at the Wine Cask, and his imprimatur is on the entire menu.

The Key Lime Martini is a cocktail we tried only a month ago, but this one is clear, not creamy. It also relies on fresh limes for the citrus and Absolut Vanilla for the alcohol. The drink wears a frothy head from heavy agitation and a halo on its rim from crushed lady fingers. That latter part is a first, imparting no sugar but a crunchy crust, and it’s a cute touch.

The Mango Mojito is a summertime hit, but it still works on an icy February night. Chavez uses Absolut Mango, fresh mint and lime, club soda and the simple syrup that he says they make everyday from organic sugar from Peru. We’re not too sure of the brand, but we’ll take his word for it. The drink itself has slivers of mango hiding among the mint and the ice cubes, and they are worth hunting around for with the cocktail stick.

We ended with a favorite of the restaurant’s, the Briannastini. Named after the server of the same name (sort of) who has been here for three or four years (even Brianna wasn’t sure), this drink is the result of many hours sampling, experimenting and, well, drinking. Brianna wouldn’t tell us how many she went through before hitting on this dark, velvety drink, but its notability comes from the float of Prosecco added after the pour. Vodka (any kind, says Chavez), pomegranate juice, a splash of lime and a good shake make the drink before the float. We liked all the flavors and the slight fizz of the Prosecco, so we’ve made it our Drink of the Week.

1/2 ounce vodka
1/2 ounce pomegranate juice
Splash of lime juice
Splash of simple syrup
Float of Prosecco

Shake vodka, juices and syrup over ice and strain into martini glass. Float prosecco to top of glass, garnish with lemon twist.

436 State St.
(805) 957-4177

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