Four Essential Southern Oregon Cocktails
Larks at the Inn at the Commons
A golden anniversary hotspot like this must have a good cocktail. The martini is the sure way to go because you can’t honestly claim that you’ve never dreamt of dressing up as James Bond and ironically ordering his trademark drink. Plus, where else but the Inn at the Commons features a ‘20s speakeasy meets ‘80s hotel dining? Nowhere, that’s where.
Larks has a full service bar so spending the extra few dollars for the higher shelf liquor is my recommendation. I like my gin martini dirty, like it should be. The bar service here is brisk and friendly, and they served mine with Nolet Silver Dry Gin garnished with the prerequisite green olive. Crisp, clean and fresh there’s not much to say about this simple drink except that the proportions were perfect, the shaken not stirred was exceptionally executed. Sometimes the classics are most essential.
Considering the sheer amount of booze in this thing, that alone makes it imperative. Make sure to bring a friend, or five, to help you drink it. Go during happy hour so you can get your drunk munchies on the cheap. Made with lime, pineapple juice, Sailor Jerry, Kraken, Malibu, Bacardi Light, Grand Marnier, and Amaretto. This thing is basically just a big ol bowl of hooch. Drink the flaming center, don’t worry it’s just Everclear!
With all considered, the Buddha Bowl is surprisingly smooth. It tastes mostly like pineapple and lime with just a hint of alcohol. It takes about five seconds before the buzz hits and suddenly the creek seems a lot more like Cabo, but the swimming isn’t quite as expansive. Leave it to Ashland-ites to put the word Buddha into their ridiculous bachelorette party drinks. Just call it a ‘cultural experience.’
How did the bartenders learn the secret of mixology on top of their extensive wine knowledge? Nobody knows but they did, and it’s great. Liquor in a wine drinking environment is the best of both worlds because you don’t have to deal with groups of SOU wannabe frat boys yelling in between Jager shots. Instead you can sit on the couch near the entrance and not have to worry whether or not it’s clean.
Though granny told you not to mix wine and liquor, the essential cocktail at Liquid Assets does just that. With Lunazul Blanco tequila, lemon, grapefruit bitters and sparkling wine. Looking a little like Tang in a martini glass, the carbonation and lemon makes it crisp while the tequila undertones ground out the finish. The citrus flavor of the tequila is amplified by the bitters while the pepper and vanilla notes brings out the grapefruit’s earthy zest. The final product is unique and refreshing, almost savory and definitely out of the ordinary.
At Jefferson Spirits, the bartender’s choice is the way to go because they know how to make it good. Set price, fresh fruit and after a couple questions they’ll rock your world.
They were just out of an experimental grilled cheese infused rum so I grudgingly asked for something else unique. The head bartender, Kalea, sized me up and without missing a beat brought me back a drink, well-executed and great. Fresh and hand muddled watermelon, grapefruit bitters, Henry McKenna Sour Mash and lemon. The earthy and sweet components of the watermelon and bourbon played off each other leading to a long finish that starts out with the grapefruit and then finishes watermelon. The oak profile of the alcohol undercuts what would be too sweet creating a balanced final product.
The result, one of the best girly drinks I’ve ever had. Tasting somewhere between a watermelon jolly rancher and bubblegum I was instantly transported back to my childhood in Eagle Point. Buzzed after the one drink, staring at the impressive collection of whiskey and listening to bumping reggae music in this saloon style bar there was no doubt we have some high quality drinks here in this crazy mishmash place we call the Rogue Valley.