3 BEST PLACES TO ENJOY CRAFT COCKTAILS IN LOS GATOS
A number of Los Gatos establishments are at the cutting edge of the craft cocktail trend, with three rising to the top: The Lexington House, Oak & Rye and Jack Rose Libation House. The craft cocktail trend dovetails into the food industry’s integration of the same emphasis on health, sustainability and transparency of ingredients while exploring distinctive new flavors and twists on classics.
Here are the 3 best places in Los Gatos to Enjoy Craft Cocktails:
The Lexington House
Opened in September 2013 by co-owners and bartenders, Jimmy Marino and Stephen Shelton, The Lexington House has a cozy, 8-person bar manned by top mixologists who serve decadent “modern classic” cocktails and well as their own signature libations. Lex House emphasizes carefully curated, small batch spirits, frequently ‘mixing up’ their drink menus with new creations and spins on traditional cocktails. Their version of the holiday classic Brandy Milk Punch includes Sacred Bond Brandy, Batavia Arrack, cinnamon syrup and milk while the AirMail, a drink originally found in the 1949 Handbook for Hosts is a tantalizing mixture of Denizen Rum, Sparking wine, quince jam, honey shrub and lemon juice. As for signature drinks, Better With Age takes Blade barrel-aged gin, maraschino, St. George Absinthe, gum syrup and bitters to create a cocktail sure to take your breath away. The Puebla Sour, created by Stephen Shelton, blends El Charron Tequila, Ancho Reyes Liquer, Créme de Cacao, lemon juice and egg white. The Lexington House bas also has an impressive beer and wine list, open every evening except Sundays serving a dinner and small-plate menu that concentrates on distinctive Northern California cuisine that pares beautifully with their drink menu.
40 North Santa Cruz Avenue
Friday & Saturday: 5-10pm
Oak & Rye
Oak & Rye is known for their wood-fired pizzas and delicious, rustic cuisine yet they also make our list of one of the top places to enjoy an incredible craft cocktail. With house-made spirit infusions, the bartenders at Oak & Rye create deliciously potent libations. Their namesake, Oak & Rye, is their in-house bottled cocktail of Slow N’ Low Rye, Aperol and dry Vermouth. On the cocktail menu is an array of amusingly monikered drinks. The Army of Me consists of dry gin, Dolin Blanc, lemon, Yellow Chartreuse, Orgeat and lemon bitters; the Careless Whisper, which mixes Osocalis Rare Alambic Brandy, Rancio Sec, maraschino, Amaro, bitters and gold dust while the Healthy & Efficiency combines Suau 8-year old Brandy, house-made “Hercules,” lemon, simple, egg and bitters. Oak & Rye also serves four different boiler makers and beers in cans, bottles and on tap.
303 North Santa Cruz Avenue
Jack Rose Libation House
A short drive north of downtown Santa Cruz is Jack Rose Libation House, where, according to their website, “handcrafted cocktails and spirits shake hands”. Named after a popular 1920s social drink rumored to be enjoyed by some of our nation’s greatest writers (including John Steinbeck, who apparently resided less than a mile from the bar), Jack Rose Libation House “relentlessly pursues the latest and greatest reiteration of the familiar while consistently trying to push the boundaries of what can be done with a cocktail.” Most of their syrups, including the intensely flavorful grenadine, are made in-house, ensuring it meets their elevated standards. At Jack Rose, they carefully choose every spirit and garnish, changing their menu based on the season. The outdoorsy, hunting lodge ambiance imbues a sense of luxury, all of which adds to the overall sensory experience. On the menu is the Figtitious Manhattan, a house burbon blend, homemade fig jam, Carpano Antica and fresh lemon; The Art of War blends 12-year Hakashu Japanese whiskey, Drambuie, lemon and Luxardo maraschino while the Book of Myths is a burbon blend with Fernet Branca, blackberry, lemon juice, West Indies Falernum and root beer. Among the seasonal specialties are the Call of the Wild, a mix of Buffalo Trace bourbon, cinnamon-pear jam, apple ice wine, fresh lemon juice and allspice dram, and the Food For Thought, a fusion of Bulleit bourbon, house strawberry liqueur, Peychaud’s bitters, plum bitters and peanut butter foam. Jack Rose Libation House also serves a menu of small plates, pizzas and Sunday brunch.
18840 Saratoga Los Gatos Road
Sunday brunch in the beer garden: 10am – 2pm
Sunday: 4pm – 10pm (kitchen closes at 9pm)
Monday – Wednesday 4pm – 11pm (kitchen closes at 10pm)
Thursday: 4pm – 12am (kitchen closes at 10pm)
Friday & Saturday: 4pm – 1am (kitchen closes at 10:30pm)