Is EOS as schizophrenic as it appears to be? During its late afternoon hours, it’s all icy blue and purple, chic and modern. Throw in a couple go-go dancers and we’d be at a New York nightclub, trying to get a seat next to James Bond. Wait until about 11 p.m., however, when the place is loud and proud and crowded out, and you’d be lucky to spot the exit sign from across the room. Is there any room in this madhouse for a cocktail?
Well, yes, according to bartender Andy Davis, who says he will gladly be muddling fresh ingredients even when five or 10 guys are waving dollars over the bar and waiting for beers and Red Bulls and whatever else people drink on dancefloor breaks.
That takes some concentration, and Davis has it. He has shaken and stirred drinks all over Santa Barbara, and has been at the Haley/Anacapa St. location through many name changes. Ask him to go further back into his bartending history and all we get are mumbles and blurs. To sum up: a long time.
The drinks are a mix of new and old favorites. We tried the Blackberry Basil Cooler, which is still on the menu, and found it as delicious as it was in our memories. Cîroc vodka is muddled with fresh basil and blackberries, along with lemon juice. The only difference? The substitution of agave nectar for simple syrup. Good choice. This is a berryful taste sensation and it rightly made our Drink of the Week back in the day. But what new delights were there?
Davis whipped something brand new up for us, called the Candi- Cîroc Red Berry, sweet-and-sour, pineapple juice and Chambord as a float (and color). It’s light and refreshing, and now that we’ve told you about it, go to EOS and make sure Davis doesn’t forget making it.
For something spicy, try the Hawt Passion. We did. Take some Jose Cuervo Platino and let some habaneros sit in there for a number of hours. Then use that fiery concoction to mix with some passion fruit purée. Essential to our enjoyment of this drink (apart from a tall glass of water) is the rim of both salt and sugar. Forego the straw — the combo of salty, sweet and spice works in all corners of the mouth. Not for everybody, but if you can handle the heat, dive in.
For a respite, try the exceedingly popular Two in the Pink. You don’t need the purple and pink lights all over EOS to make this drink glow. It comes from the pomegranate juice, mixing with the strong combo of Limoncello and Veev, an acai-based spirit. The final drink — undone only by two atomic red maraschino cherries — could be knocked back in one go, so smooth is it. But that would ignore the lemon and berry flavors. The drink flies across the bar on a busy night, but get here early and nurse it. It’s our Drink of the Week.
TWO IN THE PINK
3/4 ounce limoncello
1 3/4 ounce Veev
1 tablespoon pomegranate juice
Combine over ice, shake and strain into martini glass. Garnish with cherries and edible flower.
500 Anacapa St.