Gourmet feeds the vague consensus that 2006 is the Year of the Cocktail with a nicely written piece on mixed drinks that puts fresh ingredients first.

The story is pegged to the Healdsburg, California, hotspot Cyrus, where an emphasis on seasonal produce and artisanal distillers yields drinks with a vivid acidity and a gorgeously natural visual appeal. The Plum Dandy photographed in the magazine features:

Hangar One Mandarin Blossom vodka, regular vodka, a wine called Ume Blanc that’s
made from a plumlike Japanese fruit, homemade five-spice honey, lemongrass syrup, lemon juice, peppermint leaves, preserved cherries, jasmine flowers, and a splash of Seltzer Sisters
seltzer …

Two important details were omitted by the story: One, the price tag. Two, the alcoholic wallop. These are both dreadfully gauche details, but when you commit to a drinking experience that includes a double-digit list of ingredients and luxury-branded seltzer, you deserve to have all the facts at hand before committing to your beverage.

That said, this account of a “beautifully obsessed” mixologist and his high-end antics is a delightful little portrait of a man on a mission to bring the ethos of Chez Panisse to the cocktail shaker.

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