Ladies and gentlemen: The Savoy has left the building … and the Blind Tiger has moved in. The three-story space where Savoy used to exist is now Blind Tiger. That oval bar has gone and a more sensible long bar now runs along the right side. JT Thomas made us drinks, overseen by Leon Murray, the events director (and, full disclosure, an old friend), and things have changed to a more local, creative vibe.
We tried a Tiger Bite, a milky and spicy mix of Crop Tomato Vodka, passion fruit and habanero simple syrup, all hot and delightful on the tongue. The Cat’s Meow, their current favorite cocktail, mixes Bacardi Mango, Myers’s Dark Rum, more passion fruit and pineapple and blood orange into their — not too sweet, very subtle! — version of a mai tai.
Many drinks are either high-quality versions of classics — they make a Singapore Sling, which is lovely — or a twist on one. That’s why we chose the Buddha’s Hound, a variation on the Greyhound, but with Buddha’s Hand Vodka and lemongrass simple syrup, lovely and dry and mature.
1/2 ounce lemongrass simple syrup (see recipe)
1 1/2 ounces Buddha’s Hand Vodka
2 ounces fresh grapefruit juice
Basil leaf, for garnish
Combine 1/2 ounce syrup, vodka and grapefruit juice over ice, shake and pour into a Collins glass filled with ice. Garnish with basil leaf.
To make lemongrass simple syrup: Simmer chopped up lemongrass (1 stalk) in 1 cup water, add 1 cup sugar and stir to dissolve. Strain out lemongrass and cool.
The Blind Tiger
409 State St.
(805) 957-4111 or www.blindtigersb.com