Photo by Nik Blaskovich
Photo by Nik Blaskovich

Bartenders shuffle jobs often, and we were halfway through our introductions at Trattoria Vittoria when we realized we’d met our bartender before. Erica “Sparky” Sparks has a name you don’t forget, and we met her at Stella Mare last year. Because she once helped make drinks for a family gathering when she was a kid (and got tips!), Ms. Sparks likes to say she’s been bartending since she was 9 years old.

There’s so much on Trattoria Vittoria’s cocktail menu to go through, but one we really wanted to try was the Contorto Collins. Our main reason: Nobody orders Tom Collins (and variations) that much these days. It’s fallen out of fashion, taken over by its closest cousin, the gin and tonic. But the Contorto Collins replaces the lemon and sugar with apple schnapps and St. Germain, and soda water with tonic. If you love the elderflower taste, then this is the summer drink for you. It’s fruity and fresh and it’s also our Drink of the Week.

1 1/2 ounces gin (preferably Beefeater)
1/2 ounce DeKuyper Apple Pucker
1/2 ounce St. Germain liqueur
Squeeze lime juice
Tonic water, to top

Combine gin, Apple Pucker, St. Germain and lime juice over ice. Shake and pour into Collins glass filled with ice. Top with tonic. Garnish with lime wedge.

Trattoria Vittoria
30 E. Victoria St.
(805) 962-5014 or www.trattoriavittoria.com

Drink of the Week: Milk & Honey’s Unbeetable

Photo by Nik Blaskovich
Photo by Nik Blaskovich

Milk & Honey is about to lose its “honey.” In other words, Lesley Wood, who helped start the business in 2006 along with Alcazar’s Alvarado Rojas, is moving on and out of Santa Barbara to San Diego. She’s been a nightly fixture at the restaurant/bar since December 2006, when she was busy wearing overalls and painting the walls a deep red right before they opened. (Since Milk & Honey’s opening, however, she’s traded in work clothes for black dresses.)

She’s also responsible for a lot of the drinks on the menu, and we’ve tried a few over the years. For our last visit with Lesley, we called up a recent drink we ordered a month or two ago outside our Drink of the Week working hours.

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