Bart Thomas, general manager at Sara's Bistro, is also a master chef - you'll see it in his seductive revamp of the menu, and the cocktail list too. Chef Ganesh Ayyengar executes the food, though it was Bart behind the bar when I was there a few nights ago.
If you can't let go of summer's sparkling sangrias, their signature Sara's Cocktail eases you into autumn, straddling the seasons with holiday spices and a punch-like complexity.
The drink's layered with two wines, a liqueur, and a rum. Blending so many flavors and textures can be tricky, but it works if you choose well-matched spirits, as Bart does: smooth, caramel Gosling's Black Seal rum; fresh apple and melon notes from a Star Lane sauvignon blanc; and Dimmi Liquore di Milano, a liqueur infused with rhubarb, vanilla and peach blossoms, and blended with young grappa. It's wheat-based and 70-proof, which balances the sweetness.
The remaining ingredients bring together this cocktail: cinnamon agave syrup warmly spices the palate with an essence of autumn; a float of Steelhead pinot noir adds clean black cherry and plum, and a hint of cardamom. This pinot's short finish makes it an ideal capper.
Sara's Bistro list of craft cocktails is brief and intriguing, with an additional slew of new drinks to come by month's end.
Sara's Bistro, 724 Dublin Street, 861.0565
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