Fine wine and mixology go hand-in-hand on Hwy 29 in Napa Valley

Kelli White, sommelier at PRESS – Photo by Clay MacLachlan

During a recent run through the Napa Valley a light went off. Restaurants with a commitment to great cocktails also have that commitment their wine lists. And vice versa. Places like Farmstead and PRESS have inviting cocktail lists and equally enticing wine lists. Often in other places the two don’t go hand-in-hand. What is it about the Napa Valley that these two elements are treated with similar respect?

For one, Napa Valley is devoted to wine. The wine list at PRESS has the most extensive collection of Napa Valley wines in the world. And not just current vintages. I drool looking at the pages of Stony Hill Chardonnay and vintages of Napa Cabernet going back to the 1960’s, and all for very reasonable prices.

The wine list at Farmstead encompasses wines from all over the world, with a nod to unusual producers. Where in the world can one order a liter beaker of Lioco Chardonnay on tap alongside a bottle of Sancerre Rosé from François Cotat?

It’s understandable, though. Both restaurants have owners who also own wineries, Rudd Estate and Longmeadow Ranch. And they also have interest in food operations. But spirits? Whodathunkit?

When I sat down at the bar at PRESS I saw their cocktail list and got really excited. We tried the

PRESS Old Fashion ($11) Buffalo Trace Bourbon, Muddled Huckleberries, Orange, Sugar Cube, Blood Orange Bitters. Served on the rocks.

The PRESS Collins ($11) No. 209 Gin, Fresh Meyer Lemon Juice, Simple Syrup & Topped With Soda. Served Tall on the Rocks.

but there were many more drinks we wanted to sample such as

Navy Grog ($12) Lemon Hart Demerara Rum, Meyer’s Dark & Light Rum, St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram, Fresh Lime & Grapefruit. Shaken and Served over Crushed Ice.

Blood Orange Margarita ($12) Azul Tequila, Blood Orange & Lime, Agave & Cointreau. Served on the Rocks.

Satsuma Sidecar ($12) Roger GROULT Calvados Pays d’Auge, Cointreau, Fresh Satsuma & Lemon Juice. Served Up with a Sugar Rim.

St. Germain Cocktail ($12) St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur, Schramsberg Blanc de Blanc, Splash of Soda. On the Rocks with a Lemon Twist.

Farmstead’s cocktail list is simple but elegant. Some of their offerings

Grapefruit Martini ($ 10) Tito’s handmade vodka, fresh grapefruit and citrus juices and simple syrup

Manhattan Classic ($11) Mitcher’s rye, antica vermouth, angostura bitters and brandied cherries

reflect a return to tradition as well as innovative combinations.

All this to say folks in Wine Country are excited about spirits.  I’m looking forward to some new tales of mixologists who find wine as interesting as elderflower liqueur and vermouth.

Stories? Links anyone? I’m looking…

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