The Best Cocktail in Yolo County: The Criteria

I guess before I start I need to pick a representative cocktail, don’t I? I could try every IBA cocktail at every bar in Yolo County. Or I could order the house’s “custom” drink, but those are usually awful derivatives of good cocktails. But I’d truly do love my free time and my liver. So, that’s a no go. What I need is a representative cocktail. A stand-in. Something classic yet challenging. A drink everyone has heard of but not one that everyone has had. Something that requires careful mixing but is not overly complicated.

I have the perfect cocktail! The Whiskey Sour. That’s my stand-in.

If I’m going to rate the best cocktail in Yolo County I should probably come up with a consistent method for evaluating these drinks. Cocktails is serious business. But I won’t be approaching it as such, as that’s a great way to take all the fun out of it.

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this. I’ve asked strangers, friends, and acquaintances for their thoughts. What are the key components of a cocktail? How important are those components to the overall experience of a cocktail? What am I looking for in the components of a cocktail? When can I drink another cocktail? Should I eat this garnish or just order something to eat? As long as I am drinking with friends I’m not an alcoholic, right?

I think I’ve broken it down to five criteria:

  • Taste (10 points) – How does the drink taste?
  • Presentation (5 points) – How does the drink look? Is it garnished?
  • Balance (5 points) – How well does the alcohol interact with the mixer and other ingredients. Am I getting all the flavors without one overtaking the others?
  • Correctness (5 points) – Is this an actual Whiskey Sour? Does it have lemon juice? Is there egg white? Is the garnish correct?
  • Delivery (x points) – This is the squishy one. Did the bartender follow IBA standards? Did they ask what alcohol I wanted? For an egg white? Was there any flourish to the mixing? Eye contact? Is this an enjoyable experience?
  • Total x/25

Perfect drinks will have a score above 25. Great drinks should be at or near it. Good drinks will be in the high teens. Anything lower than that is serviceable but forgettable.

Curious what all this is? Read about the project here. See the competition here.

Best Cocktail in Yolo County: The Competition

This is the list of all the bars or restaurants in Yolo County, CA with full bars. This is the competition. I’m not looking at every cocktail I’m looking for a place that can deliver a classic, yet demanding, cocktail perfectly. There are custom and signature cocktails but I am more interested in the basics for this. If you know of a bar not listed here please contact me so I can add it.

This is the list of all the bars or restaurants in Yolo County, CA with full bars. This is the competition. I’m not looking at every cocktail I’m looking for a place that can deliver a classic, yet demanding, cocktail perfectly. There are custom and signature cocktails but I am more interested in the basics for this. If you know of a bar not listed here please contact me so I can add it.

The List

Davis

West Sacramento

  • Broderick Roadhouse
  • Cheers Bar
  • Kick’n Mule
  • River City Saloon
  • Sail Inn Grotto
  • Station 1
  • Streets of London
  • West Sac Sports Bar & Grill

Winters

Woodland

That’s a lot of whiskey sours… and a lot of competition. Maybe the best cocktail win and may I not gain 30 extra pounds. I better get swimming now!

Best Cocktail In Yolo County: The Project

Whiskey Sours

Ever since my Best Cheeseburger in Davis Project came to an end three years ago I’ve been contemplating a follow-up or similar project. I played with looking for the best cheeseburger in the city of Sacramento or expanding the Davis project out to all of Yolo County. But, nothing ever came of those and the idea went fallow.

But, friends have continued to ask me what my next project would be, what I would be rating, and if they could participate. Until now I’ve had to push them off. No longer! This spring I will embark on trying to determine the best cocktail in Yolo County.

Now, I’m not a bartender and I’ve never trained as one. I have taught myself and continue to teach myself how to make drinks. Making cocktails is an activity I enjoy and the homemade “bar” I’ve moved across this state for the last eight years is a small testament to that. I enjoy sharing time over a drink with friends and my love for Yolo County is well known. This seems project seems like a good fit for me and the site.

But, and this is important, I don’t consider myself a ‘foodie’ or a
‘hipster.’ Both labels are irredeemably tainted with tones of elitism and smug pretension. This project isn’t about putting bars or bartenders down or looking for the fanciest or most expensive take on a drink. I’m a drinker and I’m looking for the best drink.

I’m excited about this project and I hope you’re excited to read about it! I’ll try to take plenty of pictures though I’m sorry I can’t share the delicious drinks I’ll be experiencing with you. (Unless you want to come out and have a drink with me!)

Before I get drinking I’m going to have to lay out a few things first:

  • I need to pick the representative cocktail, I can’t drink every mix at every bar. I’d hate myself. And then die.
  • I need to devise some criteria for ranking this cocktail; and,
  • Compile a list of all the bars in Yolo county that mix drinks.

The last should be relatively easy, the internet is very good for list making. I’m a little more worried about creating my criteria for judging these things. I want the criteria to be helpful but I want to avoid sounding like an asshole. Finally, picking the cocktail is going to take some thought. It should be a recognizable classic. But, it should also require something more than throwing liquor into a pre-mix. I’ll be creating a post for the criteria and the competition, revealing the drink and then the imbibing can begin!

Please look forward to it!

The End of Cocktail of the Week

cocktail
Still my Fav!

The Last Word was a fitting cocktail to end this project on. I’ve been making a new cocktail nearly every week for the last two-and-a-half years. The first entry in this series went live on July 31, 2013. I made a Moscow Mule, at the time my favorite cocktail and still one of my favorites. That post contains a picture of my original “bar” which now looks terribly understocked.

Cocktail
Then

Since then I’ve bought dozens of bottles of liquor, various glasses, shakes, ice bags, other bar accessories, and learned how to make over 80 different cocktails!  I’ve come to appreciate the work bartenders and mixologists do behind the bars when they’re making drinks. I’ve gained first-hand experience trying to make my own cocktails and tasted the various subtleties involved with combining liquors, mixers, juice, syrups, bitters, etc., etc!

Cocktail
Now

I suppose I could have kept the cocktail entries going on indefinitely. There appear to be an infinite number of recipes. But, I’ve covered most of the basics and was already running into the problem of having to purchase uncommon liquors and alcohols in order to continue the project. I didn’t really want to spend the money and I’m running out of room on my own bar!

I’ve got an idea for a new project for the blog. I’ve got some more research to do before I unveil it though. I can tell you that it’s going to be food related and will be centered around Davis, CA.

I’ve still got Star Oops to go through as well as various Let’s Plays that are in progress, please look forward to more of those! If I’m especially diligent I might have one or two more to add to that.