This is a slow time for parties. With St. Patrick’s Day still a good 10 days off, there’s no good excuse for indulging in some delightfully decadent food and drink.
But wait, did you hear that high-pitched, icy clinking? Is that the sound of a cocktail shaker that we hear? Straight Up! – a competition for the best vodka cocktail in the North Bay – has come to save the day.
At 6 p.m. Thursday, you can watch some of the finest mixologists from the North Bay belly up to the bar at the Sheraton Sonoma County in Petaluma to create flavorful infusions of vodka and seasonal fruit. There will be bartenders from Cyrus in Healdsburg, John Ash in Santa Rosa, Meritage in Sonoma, Rocker Oysterfellers in Valley Ford, Farmstead in St. Helena, Jole in Calistoga, Hilltop 1892 in Novato and three Petaluma restaurants: Graffiti, Tres Hombres and The Sheraton.
Tickets are $20, which includes appetizers, live entertainment and two drink tastings. Proceeds go to Literacyworks, which has established a fund to keep North Bay organizations dedicated to literacy alive. We’ll drink to that!
Here’s a very simple vodka cocktail, which I served at a Mardi Gras party a couple of weeks ago. The recipe gives the traditional Brazilian Caiporoshka cocktail a citrusy twist.
Blood Orange Caiporoska
Makes 2 drinks
1 blood orange
1 lime, cut into 8 wedges
4 teaspoons superfine sugar
4 ounces vodka
Cut the blood orange in half lengthwise. Squeeze half, and set the juice aside. Slice the other half into 4 wedges.
Place 4 lime wedges and 2 blood orange wedges in each of 2 rocks glasses. Add 2 teaspoons sugar to each. Muddle the sugar and wedges. Fill each glass with ice to the top. Divide the blood orange juice between the glasses. Pour 2 ounces vodka over each. Transfer the contents of each glass, one at a time, to a cocktail shaker; shake vigorously, and return to the glass.