Drink of the Week: Reds Bin 211’s Tipsy Jalapeño

Photo by Nik Blaskovich
Photo by Nik Blaskovich

Yes, there is a certain art in making a cocktail … but what about cocktail-themed art? In a Funk Zone collaboration between Reds Bin 211, Ian Cutler’s distillery across the street, and a selection of local artists, the exhibition “Spirits: The Art of Distillation” is exactly what makes the Funk Zone so funky: It’s a mix of people who all care about their craft. Now this column isn’t an art review, so I’ll let you go check the works by Dan Levin, Lindsey Ross and even Reds owner Dana Walters yourself. But as long as the exhibit is up (through Sept. 7), Reds is offering cocktails designed to show off Cutler’s vodka (with proceeds going to The Arts Fund). We decided to try the Tipsy Jalapeño, which uses Cutler’s vodka, grapefruit juice, lemon juice, grapefruit bitters and a ginger-jalapeño simple syrup. Spicy, right? Not really — the grapefruit takes the heat away but leaves the earthy pepper taste. And Cutler’s vodka is smooth to start, so the whole thing wraps up like a nice present of citrus and spice.

And while you’re there at Reds, look up at the bar’s high walls … those two large projection screens are showing video art, close-ups of the distillation process and its final outcome — vodka on the rocks. The videos are by Drink of the Week photographer Nik Blaskovich, so come check it out!


1 1/2 ounces Cutler’s vodka
1 splash grapefruit juice
1 splash lemon juice
2 dashes Fee’s Grapefruit Bitters
1 squeeze ginger-jalapeño simple syrup (see instructions)
1 rosemary sprig, for garnish

Combine vodka, juices, bitters and syrup over ice, shake and strain into lowball glass filled with ice. Garnish with rosemary sprig.

To make the ginger-jalapeño syrup: simmer 3-4 slices ginger and 5-6 slices jalapeño (both shaped like rounds) in cup of water for a minute or more. Strain out solids, then dissolve 1 cup sugar into water. Let cool and refrigerate.

Reds Bin 211
211 Helena Ave. 966-5906 or redsbarandtapas.wordpress.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: Blind Tiger’s Buddha’s Hound

Photo by Nik Blaskovich
Photo by Nik Blaskovich

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.

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DRINK OF THE WEEK: The Press Room’s Bloody Mary

Photo by Nik Blaskovich
Photo by Nik Blaskovich

With Father’s Day around the corner, it’s always a good question: What makes a good cocktail for Dad? Are we talking about something manly? Something nostalgic? Something that smells like Old Spice? We here at Drink of the Week come from a background of our dads drinking beer and maybe a shot of Jameson, and that is far from the world of mixology. They may be old-fashioned, but they’ve probably never had an Old Fashioned. You know what I mean?

Anyway, a stop by The Press Room sorted it out. Chris Rodriguez, bartender here for many a year, has a drink that dads love, and one that he brought back from a stay in Austin, Texas. It’s simple but effective: Combine Guinness with a bloody mary. No, the stout does not replace the vodka in the usual recipe … it adds to it. And it magically takes the bite out of the vodka, while leaving the spice. How is such a thing possible? Mr. Rodriguez testifies to one girl calling up her dad to get him to come down and try the drink. (He did.) It’s also a cocktail that, once someone orders it, the rest of the bar suddenly wants to try. So, treat your father to this clever cocktail when you see him. No need to special order the drink at The Press Room: It’s just known as the Bloody Mary here.

3 ounces pepper-flavored vodka (preferably Absolut)
1 ounces tomato juice
Dash horseradish sauce
Dash salt
Dash celery salt 1/2 lime, squeezed
Dash pickle juice
1 1/2 ounces Guinness

Add ingredients except beer over ice in shaker. Top with beer, then shake. Pour contents into pint glass and garnish with pickled beans and olive.

15 E Ortega St.
(805) 963-8121

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

DRINK OF THE WEEK: Alison Reide’s Two of Hearts

Two of Hearts

Chocolate and strawberries. Strawberries and chocolate. Is there a better traditional combo for Valentine’s Day?

We softies at Drink of the Week say no, precisely because even if our hearts are broken at least we have chocolate to eat and maybe some strawberries to blend into pancakes. So when we got to talking to Alison Reide, host of the cupcake and champagne tastings at Corks & Crowns, about her plans for V-Day, we had to have her design a cocktail. Last year, she made us the Valentini, but this time we challenged her to top that.

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