The past several months have necessitated innovation within the hospitality industry. No more so than for restaurants and bars, the clientele of which seeks not only a cold beverage and a tasty meal, but also a sense of community. Many of Napa Valley’s eateries answered the communal call for camaraderie by converting their signature cocktails to ‘to-go’ status, allowing customers to carry-out and recreate the restaurant/bar experience at home.
Some eateries scrambled to design their to-go programs while others slid easily into the batching groove. But one thing was and is clear: these restaurants created much more than tasty concoctions. Their creativity helped to buoy spirits and to generate and sustain solidarity within the Valley by offering not only creative thirst quenchers, but a means of connection. Here are a few proclaimed most popular by thirsty locals and visitors.
At Gran Electrica, the Margarita Electrica is a perpetual hit. “It is our classic margarita, and we’ve been told that it packs a mean punch!” said proprietor Tamer Hamawi. “It was super popular from the get-go, and we have sold thousands at this point. The recipe is easy and classic, featuring fine tequila, dry Triple Sec, and fresh-squeezed lime juice, all sweetened with a bit of organic agave nectar. “We bottle in-house and found the 12oz bottle to be the perfect size to make two generous margaritas,” added Hamawi. “We seal it with a tamper-evident hot pink lid (to match our interior color palette) and label it with a day of the dead sugar skull sticker. We also provide instructions on how best to serve.”
The ‘Heritage Cocktail Program’ that Heritage Eats launched earlier this spring turned out to be a pleasant surprise for the family-owned, fast-fine restaurant. “We have never really dabbled too much in cocktails,” said founder and owner Ali Koenig. “However, Charles, our talented general manager, has an extensive background in all things food and beverage, and he was able to use his creativity to come up with some super delicious options for us. We have been pleased by the reception and are excited to evolve the program as time goes on. Like Gran Electrica, margaritas are the hit at Heritage Eats. Their simple recipe of agave wine, Triple Sec, lime juice, and agave syrup yields a tart yet balanced drink served best over ice and alongside an order of Heritage Eats tacos. All of Heritage Eats cocktails (mai tai, red sangria, white sangria, and margarita) are sold by the quart.
“Our most popular cocktail at Eiko’s is our Eiko’s Cosmo,” said Eiko’s general manager Allison Halum. The drink is made with signature dragon fruit vodka, lime juice, cranberry juice, and elderflower liqueur, and for the to-go version, the drink’s fabulous violet-flavored, purple sparkled rim shimmer is served on the side for self-application at home. “At Napa Noodles, our go-to is either the Frosé (made with Butternut Rosé, Hanger One Rosé Vodka, and Kelvin Organic Frosé Mix) or our signature Spicy Mango Margarita (made with Tanteo Habanero Tequila, Triple Sec, mango puree, house-made Sweet & Sour, and a splash of orange juice).”
While all of Tarla Grill’s cocktails are available for take-out, customers particularly favor two of the Mediterranean hot-spots concoctions: the bespoke Spanish Sangria (made with Rioja, St. Supéry Brandy, fresh fruits, and Mediterranean spices), and the classic Bloody Mary. Their cocktail menu pairs well with their popular menu which features tapas, delicious Mediterranean entrées, and daily chef specials.
Yet again, margaritas rule at Tre Posti, where varied flavor options include watermelon, prickly pear, cucumber, strawberry, and pineapple, to name a few. “Our margaritas are the perfect pairing with our Curbside Lunch, Weekend Chef’s Market, or dinner menu offerings,” said Kimmie Husted of Tre Posti Events & Catering. “We’ve been so fortunate to have many of our local customers visit us weekly to enjoy our latest creations, especially on Taco Tuesday!” Tre Posti packages its margaritas in either reusable beverage bottles or in a deconstructed format allowing guests to mix their own at home.
The best-seller at AVOW is their Lavender Roof Top Lemonade, made with lavender-infused syrup, freshly squeezed lemon and lime juices, Triple Sec, and vodka. “Our to-go cocktail program has been great!” said AVOW’s executive chef Mike Williams. “It has given our staff both a creative outlet as well as a challenge to create a cocktail that can be easily enjoyed at home while still keeping that same handcrafted feel one would get while dining at AVOW.”
The Girlfriend, featuring Barr Hill Honey Gin, house-made lavender syrup, fresh organic lemon juice, and Cocchi Barolo Chinato Sweet Vermouth, has been Ca’ Momi Osteria’s favored go-to and to-go cocktail since it made its debut back in 2015. “Whether enjoyed with dinner, while dancing, or social distancing at home, it has become everyone’s favorite garden-to-glass cocktail with a refreshing profile of lavender and citrus,” said Fabiola Watson, Ca’ Momi Osteria’s creative manager. “Each of our heart- crafted cocktails contains all-natural ingredients, and all of them are available for take-out or delivery. Each cocktail is packaged in a glass jar so one can simply add ice, shake and enjoy.
Article By: Fran Miller