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California Love      
Cordial P.A.S.S.I.O.N.      
NapaStak Rye  


Olive All'Aceituna      


Spring 2023 Summer 2023 Fall 2023 Winter 2023
Chai Goes the Lemon Isla Pear'rito Rusty Bramble GingerBee
Fashioned of Chai Kola Tai Valley Floor Fireside Tonic
Parche'd Apple Slung Pear Petite Soufrance NVD Watsonian
Mule'd Apple Cider Napa Libertad

Orange Drop'Cicle

Winter Pomito


Spring 2022 Summer 2022 Autumn 2022 Winter 2022
*W.W.A.D.? Acadian Buttefly Spicy Dog Breakfast Sour
*NVD Beautiful Day Paramour Fall French 75 Sgroppino Pie
*Geranium Lemon Drop Peach Mojito Dirty Grapefruitini Spicy Toast
*Up North Old Fashioned St Angele


Holiday Leftovers


Spring 2021 Summer 2021 Autumn 2021 Winter 2021
* Indian Springs Spritz             * Caribbean Sunset                  * Blue Da-Ba-Dee               * Portland Old Fashioned           
* Carmel by the Sea * Pineapple Sunrise         * Jennifer Juni-Pear * Poms'mo
* Garden Grove     * Pink Flamingo * BlueBerry Sangria * By the Fire
* Citrus Heights * Bird of Paradise * Rosey Mule * Pom Beach Tea


Spring 2020 Summer 2020 Autumn 2020 Winter 2020
* Yellow Brick Road  Strawberry Coast            Goldfinger       *Winter Wonderland        
* Ruby Shoes Pirates Booty          The Oscar Goes to... *Sugar n' Spice
* There's No Place like Home      Walk the Plank The Manhattan Experiment *Naughty & Nice
* Behind the Curtain Davy Jones Locker Key Largo *Mint Condition


Winter 2019 Autumn 2019 Summer 2019 Spring 2019
*Old Fashioned Nutcracker    *Gin Spice & Everything Nice  *NVD Meyer Lemon Drop  *Groundhog Day         
*Fruitcake Fizz *The Big Apple *Rye-N-Spritz *Catcher in the Rye
*Holly Jolly Cocktail *Close Up and Personal *Passion Fruit Daiquirita *San Francisco Sazerac
*Polar Express-o *Newton's Fall-y *Sazherac Agricole *For What Ails You


Aaron Lahey
March 10, 2015 | Aaron Lahey

Temperance Tuesday: Spring Tonic

Hello all and welcome to this week's Temperance Tuesday! Today I will be highlighting another of our bittersweet cocktails, the Spring Tonic. This drink has been extremely well received in the shop. With bright, floral flavors and a touch of tropical pineapple gum, this is a drink that truly hearkens the coming of spring.

Spring Tonic
Makes one 16 oz drink
2.5 oz Jack Rudy Cocktail Co. Elderflower Tonic Syrup
1.5 oz Liber & Co. Pineapple Gum Syrup
2 dashes (12-16 drops) Fee Brothers Orange Flower Water
4 drops (NOT DASHES!!!) Scrappy's Lavender Bitters*

Fill pint glass with ice. Add tonic and gum syrup. Fill with soda water. Top with orange flower water and lavender bitters. Garnish with lavender sprig.

*Note: In this drink, be very conservative with the lavender bitters. Any more than four drops and the lavender takes over, causing you to lose the subtle interplay of the different floral components.

Want to take this Temperance Tonic in a post-Prohibition direction? Try adding 2 shots of our NVD Old Hollywood Ginn.

One of the main components in this cocktail is a tonic syrup. I want to take a moment to talk about quinine and different forms of tonic. Quinine, the main ingredient in tonic, is an alkaloid found naturally in the bark of the Cinchona tree. The Quechua, a tribe indigenous to Peru, originally steeped the bark in sweetened water to aid with muscle relaxation. Europeans incorporated quinine into their medical practices, using it to effectively treat malaria since the 17th century. Even today, quinine is used as a home remedy for muscle spasms and cramps. As time progressed, we have been able to extract quinine to higher levels of purity, and this pure quinine powder is what is now added to most commercial tonic water.

The most common form of tonic on the market today is tonic water. For my personal preferences, most tonic water is far too bitter, with an almost chemical aftertaste. This is due to the fact, as I mentioned earlier, pure quinine powder is being added to it, as opposed to an extraction of Cinchona bark. In my cocktails, I much prefer using tonic syrup.

Tonic syrup is actually quite a bit more similar to the original Peruvian preparation of tonic. Cinchona bark is steeped with flavorful herbs and spices, and sweetened with sugar or agave to balance out the sharp bite of quinine. Warm reddish brown in color, tonic syrup adds a rich complexity to any number of drinks, from tiki drinks to gin fizzes (not to mention adding new life to a stale gin & tonic).

Now a brief note about the other ingredients, Liber & Co. Pineapple Gum Syrup is an awesome ingredient. The pineapple note it lends is subtle, giving it much more versatility than one would originally think. Far from being confined to tropical rum and tiki drinks, I use this syrup just as often in a light gin cocktail or a dark whisky one. It has a brightness and balance to it often lacking in simple syrups. The addition of gum Arabic makes it even more versatile in vintage cocktails or egg white drinks.

Fee Brothers Orange Flower Water lends a light, sweet floral flavor, but must be used in moderation. This is another ingredient that can easily overwhelm a cocktail. Most well known as a key ingredient in the ubiquitous cocktail, The Ramos Gin Fizz.

Scrappy's Lavender Bitters are made with true herb maceration (the right way to make bitters) in Seattle, Washington. This is my personal favorite brand of lavender bitters on the market, as I think it gives the best, well rounded, lavender flavor. The closest to the fresh herb I should say. That being said, as I mentioned earlier, these bitters are very potent, and might need to be used in conjunction with another bitters in some cocktails as not to overwhelm with lavender. 

Well, that's all for this week folks. Until next time,
Your ever humble, bitter bartender,
Aaron Lahey

Time Posted: Mar 10, 2015 at 4:10 PM Permalink to Temperance Tuesday: Spring Tonic Permalink Comments for Temperance Tuesday: Spring Tonic Comments (3)
March 6, 2015 |

Friday Fun Time Listening

Friday Fun Time Listening

Tasting Room Manager Paul here. Our Resident Mixologist Aaron and I did a radio show with Steven Andrews and Sally James for Slow Living, a coast to coast broadcast! It was a ton of fun talking about what we do and all things spirited. Lots of great ideas and information to be had here. Give it a listen, preferably while drinking one of our Napa Valley Distillery liquid creativity boosters.

Click here to check out this Friday Fun Time Listening gem!

Time Posted: Mar 6, 2015 at 3:14 PM Permalink to Friday Fun Time Listening Permalink Comments for Friday Fun Time Listening Comments (23)
Aaron Lahey
March 5, 2015 | Aaron Lahey

Thirsty Thursday: The Dirty Margarita

Hello and welcome to another Thirsty Thursday! 

The cocktail we're going to make today uses salt both to bring out the flavors in the drink as well as add a textural and flavor component by using a salt rim. A complex, smoky play on a classic Margarita, this drink sure is worth its salt. 

The Dirty Margarita
2 oz Good Mezcal
0.75 oz Grand Marnier
1 oz C&B Quinine Syrup
1.5 oz Liber & Co Pineapple Gum Syrup
2 dashes (12-16 drops) Napa Valley Bitters Fleur de Sel
1 whole lemon, juiced
2 dashes (12-16 drops) Crude "Rizzo" Bitters

Rim a highball glass with salt, fill with ice. Add all ingredients but Rizzo Bitters and stir gently. Float bitters on top, garnish with lemon wheel or twist and serve.

Today we are going to be talking a bit about an ingredient used in everything we eat, but is often ignored when it comes to cocktails. This ingredient is salt. Sodium chloride is a flavor enhancer and modifier, as Harold McGee explains in his book On Food and Cooking: "It strengthens the impression of aromas that accompany it, and it suppresses the sensation of bitterness." When the right amount of salt is added to food or drink during preparation, all the other flavors become more pronounced, without any salty taste being perceived. When salt is added directly on top of food as a seasoning, the salty flavor becomes more apparent. 

The same methodology goes for adding salt to cocktails. When a moderate amount of salt is added into the drink during its preparation, the salt itself is not perceived, but the entire drink is more flavorful. Salt doesn't readily dissolve in alcohol, so there are several easy ways to add salt to cocktails. The first is a salt tincture. This is a high concentration suspension of salt in alcohol, and mixes readily into a cocktail. Napa Valley Bitters Fleur de Sel tincture is a good one. Another is to simply dissolve salt into a small amount warm water, and add the salt water to your drink. Keep in mind that adding water to any drink will dilute the flavor, so this salt/water method can be counteractive. 

The classic way to achieve a salty taste with a cocktail is to rim the glass; the Margarita being a prime example. Modernist methods might include using salt cured fruit, salt foams or flavor pearls filled with a salty solution to add that salty character to drinks. In my personal opinion every cocktail should have a little bit of salt in it, just like all food should have some salt.

Until next week!
Your ever humble, briny bartender,
Aaron Lahey

Time Posted: Mar 5, 2015 at 3:25 PM Permalink to Thirsty Thursday: The Dirty Margarita Permalink Comments for Thirsty Thursday: The Dirty Margarita Comments (122)
Aaron Lahey
March 3, 2015 | Aaron Lahey

Temperance Tuesday: Year of the Ram

Good afternoon and welcome to another Temperance Tuesday!

I've got a brand new drink to share with you today, in honor of the Chinese New Year! It is the year of the ram (or sheep or goat), which just so happens to be my sign in the Chinese Zodiac. This drink plays off of flavors traditionally seen in Chinese cooking. Ginger, star anise, and Chinese celery. Added to this is Mr. Lee's Ancient Chinese Secret Bitters, with notes of ginger, ginseng, and sichuan peppercorn. The result is a refreshing herbal tonic, with the complexity and character of a traditional Chinese apothecary. This drink also has a green, almost grassy quality; sure to please any rams you know.

3 oz Pok Pok Som Chinese Celery Drinking Vinegar
1 oz Morris Kitchen Ginger Syrup
1 dash (6-8 drops) Addition Star Anise Cocktail Spice
2 dashes (12-16 drops) Mr. Lee’s Ancient Chinese Secret Bitters
Soda water

Fill a pint glass with ice, and add the Chinese Celery Drinking Vinegar and Ginger Syrup. Fill with soda water. Top with Star Anise Cocktail Spice & Ancient Chinese Secret Bitters. Makes one 16 ounce drink.

Now a bit about the ingredients:
Pok Pok is a James Beard award winning Thai restaurant in Portland, OR, that has produced a line of what they call Pok Pok Som: drinking vinegar. Pok Pok Som is like a shrub, but with a much higher proportion of vinegar to sugar. Therefore, in a cocktail, it acts more as a souring agent and less as a sweetener. We carry four fairly exotic flavors of Pok Pok Som here in the bar shop: tamarind, turmeric, Thai basil, and Chinese celery.

Morris Kitchen produces high quality cocktail syrups out of Brooklyn, NY. Their ginger syrup is spicy and sweet, like liquefied fresh ginger.

Addition was founded in the hope of making savory, spicy, and traditionally culinary flavors accessible to the bartender. Based out of Seattle, Washington, their extensive line of tinctures ranges in flavor from jalapeno, to cumin, to rosemary. Unlike a bitters, these tinctures contain no bittering agent. So they provide nothing but the clean flavor of what's on the bottle. This also makes them very useful in cooking, as they truly are liquid spices.

Mr. Lee's Ancient Chinese Secret bitters are produced by Dashfire, a tiny craft bitters company out of St. Paul, Minnesota. Their founder, Lee Egbert, spent a year and a half living in China, and traveling extensively throughout Southeast Asia. These bitters are inspired by his experiences in the east, and the rich flavors seen in their culinary traditions.

Well that's all for this week! Until next time...
Your ever humble, sheepish mixologist,
Aaron Lahey

Time Posted: Mar 3, 2015 at 3:04 PM Permalink to Temperance Tuesday: Year of the Ram Permalink Comments for Temperance Tuesday: Year of the Ram Comments (5)
Aaron Lahey
February 19, 2015 | Aaron Lahey

A Big Cherry Twist on a Big Apple Classic

The Cherry Manhattan
2 oz Napa Valley Distillery Cherry Brandy
1 oz Carpano Antica
2 dashes (12 drops) maraschino liqueur
2 dashes (12 drops) Abbott's Bitters or other high quality aromatic bitters
1 Luxardo Cherry for garnish

Fill a cocktail shaker half way with ice. Add cherry brandy, Carpano Antica, maraschino liqueur, and one dash bitters. Stir, DO NOT SHAKE, for 20 seconds. Garnish cocktail glass with Luxardo cherry, and strain contents of shaker into glass. Float one more dash of bitters on top, and you're done! Classic Manhattan flavor with a big cherry twist!  Served up in a chilled cocktail glass, makes one 4 oz cocktail.

*Note: An easy way to remember the proportions of the classic Manhattan: Manhattan's area code. 2-1-2. 2 oz spirit to 1 oz vermouth to 2 dashes bitters.

The true origins of the most ubiquitous drink in America remains a topic of some contention. The popular story goes that The Manhattan cocktail was first served at The Manhattan Club, in New York, sometime around 1870. A Dr. Iain Marshall is said to have first crafted the cocktail in honor of Lady Randolph Churchill, Winston Churchill's mother, during a banquet hosted by Lady Churchill. The drink was so popular, guests of the banquet would later ask for the drink by the name of the club they were first served it: "Can I have one of those Manhattan Cocktails?"

The story is likely fiction, but nevertheless the Manhattan remains the classic American cocktail. Specifically calling for American Whiskey in Jerry Thomas's 1887 edition of his famous bar tending guide. His book was the first time a recipe for the Manhattan was printed, and by some, this is considered to be THE classic Manhattan. Thomas's recipe included two dashes of maraschino liqueur or curacao, which is often absent from modern Manhattans. His recipe also calls for a 1/4 wheel of lemon to garnish, as opposed to the now standard maraschino cherry.

The cocktail I am going to make tonight is not a classic Manhattan. However, this drink stays very true to the spirit of Jerry Thomas's original, encompassing the elegant finesse one expects from true pre-prohibition cocktails. However, Instead of any kind of whiskey (American or otherwise) I'm going to be using an American brandy. To be specific, cherry brandy, made from whole bing cherries. To be even more specific, Napa Valley Distillery's cherry brandy, aged in charred American oak for two and a half years.

Let me take a moment to talk about this very unique spirit. The oak really comes through strong on this one, making it very dry and peppery on the front palate. This moves into a nuttiness on the mid palate, like toasted almond. Only on the finish do you get the cherry, which builds and lingers on the palate. The oak really gives this spirit a rye whiskey character, despite its true brandy nature. An esoteric spirit that eludes definition, it will make a Manhattan like no other.

Signing off for this week,
Your ever humble, curious mixologist,
Aaron Lahey

*Napa Valley Distillery always recommends drinking responsibly.

Time Posted: Feb 19, 2015 at 4:58 PM Permalink to A Big Cherry Twist on a Big Apple Classic Permalink Comments for A Big Cherry Twist on a Big Apple Classic Comments (5)
December 30, 2014 |

The Solo Maria

1.5oz Siete Leguas Reposado Tequila or other Premium Reposado Tequila.
.5oz C&B's Quinine Tonic Syrup
San Pellegrino Pompelmo Soda 
4-8 drops Napa Valley Bitters - Tamarind Lime Chili Bitters
Garnish: .5 Grapefruit wheel

Add Tequila, Tonic syrup and bitters into a highball glass and stir. Fill with ice. Stir. Top with San Pellegrino Pompelmo Soda. Add straw and stir slowly. Garnish with .5 grapefruit wheel. 

*Napa Valley Distillery always recommends drinking responsibly.

Time Posted: Dec 30, 2014 at 1:03 PM Permalink to The Solo Maria Permalink Comments for The Solo Maria Comments (7)
December 30, 2014 |

The Close-Up

1.5oz NVD Old Hollywood Ginn
.75oz C&B's Quinine Tonic Syrup
1 tsp fresh lime juice
4-8 drops Napa Valley Bitters - Strawberry Rhubarb Bitters
Seltzer or Club Soda
Garnish: Lime wheel

Combine Ginn, Tonic syrup, bitters and lime juice in a lowball or old fashioned glass. Stir. Add ice. Stir. Top with seltzer or club soda. Stir. Garnish with lime wheel. Enjoy and repeat. 

*Napa Valley Distillery always recommends drinking responsibly.

Time Posted: Dec 30, 2014 at 12:38 PM Permalink to The Close-Up Permalink Comments for The Close-Up Comments (20)
December 30, 2014 |

Lime Gimlet

2oz NVD Old Hollywood Ginn
.5oz Sonoma Syrup Co. - Sweetened Lime Syrup
.25oz Fresh lemon juice
6-8 Drops Napa Valley Bitters - Tamarind Lime Chili Bitters
Garnish: Lime Wheel

Add all ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously. Strain into a chilled cocktail coupe. Float lime wheel on top of cocktail.

*Napa Valley Distillery always recommends drinking responsibly.

Time Posted: Dec 30, 2014 at 12:31 PM Permalink to Lime Gimlet Permalink Comments for Lime Gimlet Comments (19)
December 30, 2014 |

Apple Brandy Rickey

1.5oz NVD Apple Brandy
.5oz Sonoma Syrup Co. - Sweetened Lime Syrup
Club Soda
Lime & Aromatic Bitters (Try Apothecary Bitters Co.)
Garnish: Lemon or Lime Twist & a thin slice of apple. 

Add all ingredients into a highball glass. Stir. Fill with ice. Stir. Top with Club Soda. Garnish with twist and apple slice. 

*Napa Valley Distillery always recommends drinking responsibly.

Time Posted: Dec 30, 2014 at 12:21 PM Permalink to Apple Brandy Rickey Permalink Comments for Apple Brandy Rickey Comments (11)
December 30, 2014 |

The Sidecar

1.5oz NVD Brandy Cordial
.75 Grand Marnier
.75oz Fresh squeezed lemon juice (Meyer if you have it!)
5 Drops Orange Bitters (Try Berg & Hauck's, Bittercube, AZ Bitter Lab, or Cocktail Punk)
Garnish: Orange or Lemon Twist & more bitters

Combine ingredients into shaker filled with ice, stake until well chilled. Strain into chilled cocktail coupe. Add several drops of bitters to the foamy top coating the cocktail.

*Napa Valley Distillery always recommends drinking responsibly.


Time Posted: Dec 30, 2014 at 12:01 PM Permalink to The Sidecar Permalink Comments for The Sidecar Comments (5)