It has been six months since Michael's Santa Monica hired Jason Robey to relaunch their cocktail program. He has infused the spirit and produce of the Santa Monica farmers' market into his cocktails by both growing his own fruits and vegetables for his drinks as well as buying from the Wednesday market.
Robey recently created a fall cocktail list, to take advantage of the changing seasons and products available. A particularly interesting one is the Borracha Remolacha, made with Revolucion Reposado Tequila, Del Maguey Vida Mezcal, Lime Juice, Agave Nectar, Beet Juice, Orange Bitters. It is a take on a margarita but the beet juice and smoky mezcal take it a slightly different direction. The lollipop of bruleed orange rind is a playful touch. When I see beet juice in a cocktail, I invariably think of Matthew Biancaniello's Breeder's Cup, which is a rather tasty gin drink that is a take on a Gordon's Cup, but this cocktail is nothing like that. The Borracha Remolacha, which translates as Drunk Beet, has the startling color of the beets to throw you off of any margarita expectations you may have. If only this was available at more Cinco de Mayo celebrations.
The Apple Blush is pure fall, like a less sweet apple juice for adults. Mixed with Noah's Mill Bourbon, Meyer lemon juice, aged cinnamon simple syrup, fuji apple and a cranberry-pomegranate reduction, sipping on one transported me to a New England orchard. The danger with apple drinks is that they will be sickly sweet, and thankfully this cocktail does not go over the edge. It is shaken and served in a highball glass over ice and garnished with a slice of apple. The version I tried was made with Buffalo Trace bourbon. I suspect that it will be even better with the Noah's Mill.
The rest of the fall cocktail list is below:
Pumpkin the Great: Pumpkin Puree, Vanilla, Cinnamon, Jason’s Spiced Rum, Germain-Robin Apple Brandy, Cava
Dark Side of the Moon: Aviation Gin, Dolin Dry Vermouth, Blood Orange Juice, Lime, Orange Oil Simple Syrup, Crème de Violette
Smoke Love: Laphroaig 16yr Single Malt Scotch, Smoked Mezcal, Red Bell Pepper Simple Syrup, Basil, Cilantro, Grapefruit
Number 3: Confit-Washed Buffalo Trace Bourbon, Cardamaro, Leopold Bros. Georgia Peach Whiskey, Orange, Pepper, Angostora Bitters
Mary Rose: Cranberry-Ginger Infused Tito’s Vodka, Lime, Vanilla Simple Syrup, Charred Rosemary
Vera Cruz Cocktail: Chinaco Anejo Tequila, Fair Trade Kafe Liqueur, Aperol, Aztec Chocolate Bitters, Blood Orange Juice
Piscoretto Sour: Pisco, Amaretto, Egg White, Meyer Lemon, Demerra Sugar Simple Syrup, Peach Bitters
Michaels: 1147 3rd Street, Santa Monica. Phone: (310) 451-0843. Website: http://www.michaelssantamonica.com/