Napa Valley is for Cocktail (and Mocktail) Lovers

July 26th, 2022

California’s premier wine region may be known for its Cabernet Sauvignons, Merlots, and Chardonnays, but in recent years, Napa Valley has expanded its beverage program to appeal to a wider swath of travelers. Cocktail lovers in particular have a lot to celebrate, with a flurry of new bars, distilleries, and tasting rooms turning out elevated spirits and handcrafted cocktails and mocktails. Here are 10 spots to get your drink on.

The ArBaretum by Napa Valley Distillery, Napa

At this new cocktail bar and tasting room in downtown Napa, visitors can huddle around a working 65-gallon copper-and-stainless steel still, learning about the art and science of distillation. Afterwards, enjoy hand-crafted cocktails, premium spirits, and a selection of small plates.

Napa Valley Distillery, Napa

This family-owned micro-distillery—the first distillery to open in Napa Valley since Prohibition— makes small-batch craft spirits using old-world techniques. Visitors can tour the Grand Tasting Salon to learn how to make properly distilled spirits.

Cole’s Chop House, Napa

At Cole’s, there’s more on the menu than 21-day, dry-aged prime steaks. The restaurant whips up a variety of seasonal cocktails and offers a selection of over 170 whiskeys, including a 15-year-old Kentucky straight bourbon.

Sky & Vine Rooftop Bar at Archer, Napa

Located at the top of the Archer Hotel, downtown Napa’s tallest building, Sky & Vine offers breathtaking views of the city and the wine country beyond. Order one of the many cocktails on tap, like a Paloma, Negroni, or a Moscow Mule, and cozy up around the outdoor fire pits.

Wilfred’s Tiki Bar, Napa

Last summer, downtown Napa opened Wilfred’s, its first tiki bar. Inspired by the owner’s uncle, a bartender who worked in Honolulu during the 1940s and 50s, the watering hole is decked out in Polynesian décor and features a large outdoor terrace overlooking the Napa River. Pull up a chair and choose from a menu with more than 15 tropical cocktails, from Mai Tais and Tahitian punch to the Wiki Wiki Spritz.

Mommenpop, Napa

In 2017, winemaker Samantha Sheehan and her husband, Michael, experimented with making a less-sweet, dye-free alternative to traditional aperitifs, using locally grown Seville oranges and the base of her own Chardonnay. Now available at Outland Wines tasting room, a local favorite in downtown Napa Valley, visitors can sit on the sunny patio and try the spirit that Wine Enthusiast calls “A pop of sun-soaked California citrus.”

California Brandy House, Napa

In 2020, downtown Napa debuted the first stand-alone tasting room dedicated solely to luxury Californian brandies. Visitors will discover the unique terroir of California brandies like German-Robin and Argonaut through guided tastings of limited offerings and single-barrel samples not available anywhere else.

Goose & Gander, St. Helena

“Farm-to-glass” cocktails? Yes, please. Set inside the landmark Martini House, which operated as a bootlegging business in the 1920s, Goose & Gander whips up cocktails with a sense of place, featuring locally foraged ingredients (like borage flowers and fennel) and house-made bases and syrups.

Alila, St. Helena

New at Alila Napa Valley is the “Balance and Botanicals” experience (complimentary for hotel guests). The experience starts with a tour of the garden led by a mixologist from Acacia House. Participants will pick fresh herbs and flowers that they’ll later use in the creation of handcrafted mocktails like cucumber lavender lemonade, taking home a recipe card following the class.

Sam’s Social Club, Calistoga

This upscale restaurant at Calistoga’s legendary Indian Springs resort is named after the state’s first millionaire, Samuel Brannan. Inside, a colorful mural depicting Calistoga’s history graces the bar, which turns out artisanal cocktails that pair perfectly with the fresh, seasonal dishes. Try the Sangria, made from local wine and a house made grape-infused vodka.

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