About a week ago a much-anticipated restaurant called Spoonbar opened in Healdsburg. I couldn’t wait to visit, mostly because the genius in charge of the bar program is Scott Beattie, author of the beautiful book Artisanal Cocktails and one of my favorite cocktail geeks in all the Bay Area. So, rather than wait until my next assignment in the Wine Country, I accepted an invitation from Mr. Manhattan to spend the afternoon at Spoonbar.
Wow. It did not disappoint. It was a spectacularly beautiful day, and with the cantina doors opened wide to the street made me feel like I was on vacation.
In the five or so hours we spent there (eek!), we had a lovely chat with Scott and his family, who were at the restaurant celebrating his grandmother’s birthday (so cute!). Along the way we tasted, ahem, several stunning cocktails.
One of my favorites was the drink I started with, chosen by Scott himself: the Tempus Fugit. It’s a genius Negroni variation, made with equal parts Ransom Old Tom Gin, Carpano Antica Vermouth, and Gran Classico Bitter, garnished with an orange twist. Proof positive that a cocktail doesn’t have to be complicated to be fabulous.
Other standouts included a La Floridita, sometimes called a Hemingway daquiri, one of my perennial favorites. In this case, it was stepped a notch, made with a mix of Flor de Cana and Agua Libre Agricole Rum, along with agave nectar, maraschino liqueur, and grapefruit juice.
As afternoon turned to night, Scott made us his version of a mai tai, made with Appleton Rum, St. George’s Aqua Libre Rum, Qi orange liqueur, orgeat, demarara syrup, and fresh lime juice. Nothing like those bastardizations of the mai tai you’ll find at tiki bars, this one was fresh and sophisticated, and, in a particularly Scott Beattie-ish touch, beautifully garnished with flowers.
In fact, many of the drinks are garnished with flowers, as evidenced by the riotous vases of flowers behind the bar
So, if you’re ever in Healdsburg, swing by Spoonbar and order an East India Sidecar (Germain-Robain Brandy, lemon juice, maraschino liqueur, bergamot-infused simple syrup, and Angostura Bitters) on my behalf. And say hi to Scott while you’re there.