DRINK OF THE WEEK: The Lark’s Maduro Margarita

Is The Lark now the most popular restaurant in Santa Barbara? We’ll answer that rhetorical question for you: Yes, yes it is. Before our official Drink of the Week visit, we were with friends who suddenly wanted to grab some food. The wait time was … come back tomorrow. Even when we got in, there were only bar stools to be had. But that’s OK. We like barstools.

The Lark has an impressive opening cocktail list worked on by co-owner Dan Russo and manager Ryan Stowers, based on restaurant and bar experience going back to San Francisco days (there’s lots of the Bay Area in The Lark’s DNA, including the architect). So we just started trying things that piqued our interest. The Mule is a variation of the Moscow Mule, using Crop cucumber vodka, Yellow Chartreuse, and Cock ‘n Bull ginger beer. The Chartreuse, so herbal, is in a lot of the cocktails here. It’s in the delicious Maduro Margarita (in its green form), along with Espolon Blanco, agave nectar and an egg white for a velvety taste. Another classic cocktail getting the remix treatment is the Red Hook, which is a spice-filled Manhattan, with Templeton rye, Punt e Mes vermouth and a maraschino cherry. And the mai tai — called the Partly Cloudy — features Aperol, Gosling’s black rum, grapefruit, lime, ginger beer and — how interesting — house-made falernum, a sweet syrup. After many too-sweet mai tais, this is how it should be done. Not everything was terrific — the bloody mary-like Sangre Mara may be too thick and spicy without being interesting enough. But, that’s a pretty good average for the drinks. When you can actually get a reservation, ask for the Maduro. It’s our choice for Drink of the Week.

2 ounces Espolon Blanco
1/2 ounce Green Chartreuse
1 ounce agave
1 egg white
1 ounce lime juice

Add ingredients over ice and shake. Pour into lowball glass. Garnish with lime and salt rim if desired.

Yield: 1 drink

The Lark
131 Anacapa St.
284-0370 or www.thelarksb.com

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