Need help planning this season’s cocktail menu? SLO CAL doesn’t just mix cocktails out at the bar, there are SLO CAL Crafted spirits, mixers and bitters made here to take home, too! Yes, we’re crazy for wine, but just wait till you try our drinks, served shaken, stirred and neat. From distilleries tucked away along vine-studded backroads to hip industrial hangouts, you’ll find a new reason to say cheers, in and out of SLO CAL. For a truly local drink that refreshes the senses, check out these clink-worthy experiences.
Belly up to our bars! Across SLO CAL, you'll find bars and restaurants teeming with seasonal cocktail specials. Herby cocktails made with local spirits are the main event at SLO’s Sidecar Cocktail Co., Arroyo Grande’s Mason Bar, as well as Paso Robles restaurants La Cosecha and speakeasy Eleven Twenty Two Cocktail Lounge. In San Luis Obispo, Koberl at Blue offers a professional experience and their signature blue hued martini topped with a blue cheese olive, as well as chocolate and coffee martinis. Paso Robles’ The Alchemists is not only hip, but gorgeous. And their drinks will give you a lot to live up to, if you’re aiming to recreate at home.
Take Home Mixology
Locally produced bitters from SLO Bitter Co. make your perfect crafty home cocktail. With a base of neutral spirits made with reclaimed Central Coast grape juice, add a few drops of these mixtures to bring an extra spark to your favorite delights. Your friends will wonder why your cocktails taste like those you find at many SLO CAL hotspots. Purveyor Yes Cocktail Co. will also take your cocktails to the next level with citrus splashes! Their full collection of recipes to match their craft cocktail mixers, syrups, and cocktail kits will let you try for a new favorite drink over and over. Root Elixirs offer artisan soda blends to accompany every occasion. Pineapple Passionfruit, Strawberry Lavender and Grapefruit Jalapeño will top off up to three cocktails, so be sure to buy a few for your holiday extravaganzas. Your tastebuds will thank you, but be careful! These elixirs are designed to be spiked, so you'll need to find some SLO CAL spirits to fill your glass.
Take Home Mixology (alcoholic)
Rye whiskey, bourbon, gin, barrel rested gin, port finished whiskey, Oh My! At KROBĀR, not only are those bottles available, there is even a unique pink gin, featuring 14 different aromatic botanicals. Don’t forget to ask about their unique bitters, which include flavors like Olallieberry cacao and Olallieberry citrus. Newer among the lineup is distillery Bethel Road, featuring an expanded assortment of these alcohol-included cocktail kits to make everything from Paso’s dirty martini to a wild hibiscus sour with their barrel-aged brandy. Hop on Calwise’s rum club, with or without California orange infusions. Their award-winning Big Sur Gin is distilled from wine grapes and native herbs you find on hikes in the California preserve. Their COVID-friendly Mai Tai Kits offer fool-proof creations to taste at home.
Find More Spirits
One of the first in SLO CAL to produce spirits from premium wine grapes, Re:Find's distillery has the perfect balance between light and dark. Think smoother-than-smooth vodka, locally famous gin, whiskey, bourbon, and an intense and zesty limoncello you’ll want to drink after every meal from here on out. Founded by Opolo Vineyards, Willow Creek Distillery specializes in after-dinner liqueurs. Never had grappa? You’re in for a treat. The bottle features estate-grown Muscat blanc, a Williams pear brandy distilled from northern California Bartlett pears and a walnut-based liqueur made from organic estate-grown walnuts. Yes, you’ll want to take a few bottles home. Tip: buy two- one for now and one for the holiday season. Also sourcing from vineyards is Wine Shine. Specializing in the widest variety of brandy flavors, ghost pepper brandy will ignite a fire for your tastebuds while their fig brandy or hibiscus lemon brandy can appeal to your sweeter tooth. SLO’s whiskey maker, Rod & Hammer offers a straight lineup of bourbon and rye whiskey, and if you’re lucky, their reserve bottles will elevate any glass.
Find Your Spirit on the Trail
The Paso Robles Distillery Trail is rife with these luscious libations sure to surprise and delight—plus, it’s always growing! Book a tour with 101 Wine Tours or Breakaway Tours and discover these hidden distilleries nestled among the vines in Paso Robles Wine Country. Wrap up your stop at Tin City, a lively and hip industrial community where you can kick back your heels from a long day of tasting and enjoy the evening with more distilleries, wineries, and even sheep's milk ice cream. It's so cool, even Amazon has a documentary available on the community. So come on, and book your next trip to taste for the ultimate holiday pitcher.
SLO CAL Crafted Recipes
If Yes Cocktail Co’s interactive recipe website isn’t doing the trick for you, try a few of these curated concoctions that come highly recommended.
-Central Coast Distillery Seasonal Recipes
-SLO Bitter Co Recipes
-Root Elixirs Recipes