Growing up in the small town of Tomales, a mere seven-minute drive up Highway 1, I learned the importance of strong communal ties and family values. A big part of this entailed an appreciation and passion for food preparation. My grandfather was a Dutch immigrant who began his American Dream as a butcher in Valley Ford, a town approximately eight miles north of Nick’s Cove. My dad and brother would go hunting, bringing home a deer or wild boar for us from their weekend trips. While their passion was the hunt, mine was finding new and creative ways to cook the meat for family and friends. It wasn’t until I began bartending at Nick’s Cove that I learned the comparable nature of preparing a meal to that of mixology.
In the summertime, overpowering fruits and artificial syrups too often cover up spirits. Although a lot of classic cocktails follow those guidelines, I find it a little too simple and mundane. The true beauty in mixology is incorporating different liquors that blend in harmonious vibrancy while taming the heat of spirits. Accomplishing this balance during the fall and winter proves even more difficult, as in-season fruits are slim-picking. However, our bartenders at Nick’s love the challenge and are constantly coming up with fun ideas to showcase classic cocktails with a contemporary twist.
The Highway 1 Trip is a fungi boulevardier. The porcini-infused Cyrus Noble bourbon has a crazy flavor profile that doesn’t carry one defining characteristic. The earthiness and salinity that come from the porcini are quickly balanced by the sweetness of the bourbon, while the bitterness of the Cynar (artichoke bitter liqueur) is rounded off by fleur de sel. This well-balanced cocktail is perfect to sip on by the bay as the fog rolls over the point.
Cheers to a new season!