Nearly every aspect of Santa Cruz life-from the art that adorns local galleries to the vibrant dishes served up by local eateries-has been inspired by the region’s coastal splendor, classic surf culture, and verdant organic farms. Now we’re adding cocktails to the list. We asked three local cocktail pros to create a Santa Cruz cocktail, a drink that captures the region’s essence in a glass. While wine has terroir, bartenders have more poetic license, pulling from an assortment of spirits, juices, and aromatics. Below, we’ve shared their creations, plus each drink’s inspiration and recipe so that you can enjoy them at home!
Visitors flock to Santa Cruz for the redwoods and the coastline. They come to surf world-class waves, to catch sight of a blue whale in the Monterey Bay, and to experience the classic charm of the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. Santa Cruz has a well-kept secret, however, that’s hidden in plain sight. It’s admittedly still a diamond in the rough but a cavalry of local artists, environmentalists, and community builders have plans to change that.
So, what is this precious local gem that’s been sitting right under everyone’s noses? It’s our city’s primary water source, a vibrant wildlife habitat, and soon-to-be community gathering place: the San Lorenzo River.
Vacations often involve cramming as many activities as possible into a three-day weekend. We zip through the local’s favorites, pose for selfies with the tourist attractions, and snap artfully arranged shots of avocado toast and acai bowls consumed between mugs of artisanal coffee. It’s all about checking things off our bucket list, filling our Instagram feed, and, for those with kids in tow, finding creative ways to avoid a meltdown.
While we’re huge fans of both the bucket list and sharing experiences on social media, there is another way to experience both a new place and the familiar haunts you thought you knew like the back of your smartphone.
While surfing may have first put Santa Cruz on the map, there’s a landlocked sport that’s been gaining traction and attracting international attention over the last couple decades. The epicenter of mountain biking sits right here in “Surf City” with year-round riding conditions and world-class trails just minutes from your home or hotel room.
Since opening in 2002, Soif has been our go-to spot for a globe-hopping wines, perfectly paired dishes, and a fetching, candle-lit atmosphere. Now, new chef Marshall Bishop promises to elevate the experience further. After working alongside superstar chefs such as Thomas Keller, Bishop is bringing some sparkle to the Santa Cruz food scene. In between his menu planning and dropping off bowls of complimentary spiced popcorn at diners’ tables, we sat down with Chef Bishop to chat food, Santa Cruz, and his method for creating recipes.