Photo by Nik Blaskovich
Photo by Nik Blaskovich

The only bar on the Westside, Bo Henry’s is packing them in every night with pool tables, a healthy and genre-stuffed jukebox, art all over the walls, and cocktails. On a sweaty Sunday night, creeping toward 11 p.m., we found the bar lively, one of the few things on this party side of town showing signs of life. Behind the bar was Erin Ingalls, working here since April and a veteran of the Crocodile on upper State. Asked if she had a drink that she had invented, she immediately pointed to the board above her head. “Do I? Yes.”

“Erin’s Lil’ Bit of Sweet ‘n’ Spicy” is currently the special and, no, Erin doesn’t have to be working the night you order it — but it helps. Her inspiration comes from a regular who lives nearby and is often bringing food from her garden to see if Erin can use it. She’s made gin martinis with lemon verbena, for example. But for this particular drink, she’s used fresh serrano chiles and then paired them with pear vodka. Triple sec and orange juice take the spicy edge off, but that combo of pear and chili really works. It’s smooth and spicy and, yes, sweet. It’s our Drink of the Week.

1 3/4 oz. Absolut Pear vodka
1/2 oz. triple sec
1 oz. orange juice
1 oz. sweet and sour
1/3 serrano chili, chopped

Muddle chili in shaker, add ice, liquids and shake. Pour into lowball glass and garnish with lime wedge.

Bo Henry’s
1431 San Andres St.
966-7898 or www.bohenry.com

Drink of the Week: Roy’s Kamikaze


Are you ready to party like it’s 1989? Roy Gandy of Roy is ready. In honor of celebrating 25 years in the restaurant biz, he is devoting August to his anniversary. He’s dropping prices on everything down to $15. That’s not exactly 1989 prices, but it is cheaper than the last several years. The other major feature is that Mr. Gandy is opening the restaurant for lunch! The last time that happened was … actually, we don’t know when that was. But Restaurant Roy used to be the Expressway Cafe, located at Chapala where it used to cross the freeway, traffic lights and everything. (Lily’s Tacos is there now, and a chain-link fence where there was a road). Mr. Gandy used to offer coffee and snacks to those waiting the eight or so minutes for the light to change on the 101 freeway. That was a long time ago!

For our Drink of the Week, he went back to 1989 and grabbed a popular cocktail, the Kamikaze, and made it for us. It’s equal parts vodka, lime juice and triple sec, essentially a vodka margarita. However, it looks and tastes lovely and sweet, and made the perfect toast for Restaurant Roy, one of the few places in town open till midnight. We’ll drink to that!

2 ounces vodka (preferably Sobieski)
2 ounces triple sec
2 ounces lime juice

Combine all ingredients over ice in shaker, shake and strain into cocktail glass. Garnish with lime wedge.

Restaurant Roy
7 W. Carrillo St.
966-5636 or www.restaurantroy.com

DRINK OF THE WEEK: Palazzio’s Jalapeño Margarita

Photo by Nik Blaskovich
Photo by Nik Blaskovich

In just under two weeks, it will be Fiesta, and already we’re thinking about it … just the drinks, of course. OK, yes, we are thinking about the dancing, but that makes us think about the parade, and that makes us think about the mercado, and that makes us think of food, and that makes us thirsty. So there you go.

So what to do? In our first of three suggestions, we think that Palazzio just might be the place to stop. Jamie Freymuth has been the face of Palazzio’s bar for four years and creates all the cocktails there, putting the weekly winners on the little sandwich chalkboard near the street. That’s how we first saw the Jalapeño Margarita.

This is a quick mix. Several slices of jalapeño, then a mix of 1800 Reposado, triple sec, and then Palazzio’s house mix, a 50-50 of lemon and lime juice and simple syrup to top. When Ms. Freymuth unjarred that container of jalapeños, that spicy smell knocked us back, but, fortunately, the drink is sweet, not blasting with heat. It’s designed for a seat at the bar, looking out at the madness of State Street, just above the fray. It’s our Drink of the Week.

2 oz. 1800 Reposado Tequila
3/4 oz. Triple Sec
Lemon and lime juice, 50-50 mix, to top
Simple syrup to top
3 – 4 jalapeño slices

Muddle jalapeño slices gently at bottom of pint glass. Add tequila, triple sec and ice. Top with equal parts citrus mix and simple syrup. Shake and return to pint glass.

1026 State St.
(805) 564-1985 or www.palazzio.com

DRINK OF THE WEEK: Bistro 1111’s White Cranberry Cosmopolitan

Photo by Nik Blaskovich
Photo by Nik Blaskovich

It was yet another lovely balmy spring day in Santa Barbara — or was it a summer day? We can’t tell anymore. But we took another leisurely bike ride down Cabrillo. This time we parked ourselves outside Bistro 1111, part of the Hyatt hotel, and a place where we once did a Drink of the Week some time ago. The bar is about to undergo some major renovations, and they sound great. Its current location near the corner of Ninos Drive and Cabrillo will move farther down to the pool, offering an oval bar that both looks out to the restaurant and over the deep end, depending on what side you choose. What should one order when celebrating the remodel (coming soon, but you can drink it now!)? Well, after a liquor rep stocked the bar with new alcohols, including Finlandia’s line of flavored vodkas, we recommend the White Cranberry Cosmopolitan.

How is this possible? Well, Ocean Spray makes a line of clear cranberry, and Finlandia makes a cranberry-flavored vodka, and so … you can see where this is going. Add a dash of lime, some triple sec, and you get what bartender Joel Alva tells us was all they made one recent night during a wedding reception. You can see the bridesmaids ordering one after the other: the cocktail tastes like an energy drink like Gatorade … only this one packs a vodka punch. It’s our Drink of the Week.

2 ounces Finlandia cranberry vodka
1 ounce triple sec
3 ounces Ocean Spray White Cranberry
Dash lime

Combine all ingredients over ice in a shaker, shake and strain into cocktail glass. Garnish with lime wedge.

Bistro 1111
1111 E. Cabrillo Blvd.
(805) 730-1111