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

Trattoria’s Grand Smash

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

Bartender Milo Wolf has an interesting résumé. He drives and pilots the Land Shark around Santa Barbara, he hosts trivia nights and, for over a decade, he has poured drinks at 30 E. Victoria Street. That address, of course, used to be Pascual’s, which was the kind of watering hole where the shutters would come up in the morning and customers were ready for a drink. It has been home to Trattoria Vittoria for three good years now, and Milo is still there, albeit one night a week. Good thing we came in to try some cocktails when we did.

The Italian restaurant has some new cocktails on the menu and, of course, some favorites; the guys we wound up next to were drinking gin straight over ice. But we like a mix with our -ology, so we got ambitious.

Read More