Located just 90 miles east of San Francisco, Lodi enjoys a superior location in California’s Central Valley, an agricultural hub for nearly every kind of earthly ingredient you might imagine in a glass.
While this attractive city is well known for its prolific wine appellation and award-winning Zinfandel, it also has access to some of the country’s finest craft ingredients. And local restaurants take advantage of this fresh bounty in a variety of playful craft cocktails inspired by seasonal fare.
Here are a few fresh selections you can wet your whistle with the next time you’re craving true craft:
Towne House Restaurant
Located inside the acclaimed Wine & Roses Hotel, Towne House Restaurant boasts several craft concoctions inspired by seasonal ingredients. The Spicy White Peach Margarita is a blend of Cazadores Reposado, triple sec, fresh lime juice, agave nectar, orange juice, peach puree and fresh jalapeno, muddled to spicy perfection. Or try the Strawberry Basil Splash, a refreshing mixture of Nolet’s gin, fresh muddled strawberries and basil, fresh lemon juice, simple syrup and a splash of bubbly club soda. Whether you like it sweet or spicy, Towne House Restaurant delivers big on craft flavor, as well as ambiance—the outdoor patio is about as pretty as garden dining gets, complete with romantic bistro lighting, sprawling foliage and a hanging garden canopy.
For more than 50 years, the Ollie’s Pub sign has hung over School Street in Downtown Lodi. The pub serves up proper pints of Guinness in a spirit of Irish hospitality—which is to say, it’s a lively place to party. Ollie’s owners, Sean Guthrie and Justin O’Byrne, decided to get crafty with their business experience, and opened 20 North next door to Ollie’s. This upscale space includes more than 300 fine spirits mixed into creative concoctions, such as the Cilantro Squeeze, a combination of Belvedere vodka, Cointreau, fresh orange juice, lemon and lime, and muddled cilantro—that’s right, cilantro. The Florida Key is a sweet refresher of Ciroc Pineapple vodka, simple syrup, cream and fresh lime juice, rimmed with crushed graham crackers—the perfect dessert cocktail when you want to drink up something delightfully refreshing and sweet.
Known for serving family-style Italian food from the old country, Pietro’s might not be the first place that comes to mind when craving craft cocktails. But what better way is there to enjoy the rich flavors and hearty portions of their dishes than with fresh cocktails that are a twist on famous standards? The Italian Mule, for example, is a fragrant fusion of Sobieski vodka, Amaro (an Italian liqueur), fresh lime juice, ginger beer and fresh rosemary served with a slice of lime. And the Blood Orange Martini is a potent potable of Absolut lemon vodka, fresh-squeezed blood orange juice and a splash of bubbly Prosecco that’ll have you saying grazie mille to creativity and craft.
Rosewood Bar and Grill
Lodi locals voted Rosewood their No. 1 pick for craft cocktails, and once you see the menu and the inside of this gorgeous restaurant, you’ll understand why. But first, a drink: The Tang Martini is a citrus mixture of Smirnoff Orange vodka, DeKuyper triple sec, fresh lime and orange juice, served straight up—truly, a citrus lover’s drink of choice, and the perfect seasonal cocktail. In addition to craft cocktails, it’s the ambiance and fresh food at Rosewood that keep people coming back for more. Here, you can drink fresh, and you can eat fresh, for lunch or dinner, with high-quality foods sourced from nearby ranchers and farmers—the perfect complement to a handmade cocktail.