Monday, February 13, 2012

Cheers! Manresa and GQ

GQ Chef of the Year David Kinch was sick of sending early arrivals elsewhere for a cocktail. The fourteen-seat lounge showed up this spring in a major renovation of Manresa, his Silicon Valley temple to the local and seasonal, where most of what you eat comes from Love Apple Farms in the nearby Santa Cruz Mountains. Kinch favored classic recipes for the cocktail program, but then sommelier Jeff Bareilles got a noseful of Love Apple's Bolivian coriander, which is not a euphemism for cocaine. "I thought, I can make a cocktail with this," he says. Manresa treats the cocktail as an amuse-bouche, with drinks that are light and fresh. Like the menu, they're inspired by hyssop, pungent Black Prince tomatoes, dates and whatever the farm provides. The Shizuka is built around the mild, mintlike herb shiso, with a sturdy scaffolding of Hendrick's Gin, Fentimans Tonic, and Green Chartreuse V.E.P. It leaves the head clear for decision-making, like whether to move into the dining room or spend your night at the bar. —James O'Brien
» Read "The Chef is Pouring: A GQ Guide to Cocktails," GQ, January 2012