Celebrating its 10th anniversary as a mainstay to the Downtown Santa Cruz food and drink scene, Soif Restaurant & Wine Bar, and Assembly restaurant – which features a communal dining atmosphere – are adding a new dimension to their carefully curated farm-to-table fare. Patrons can now peruse an eclectic cocktail menu at these hip, stylish eateries. At Soif, a generous list of vermouth and amari bottled in the 1960’s and 1970’s are procured from an old cellar, and is an example of how the restaurant is paralleling the aesthetic behind their wine selection but using spirits instead. Special events are planned to make the new venture into the craft cocktail arena more accessible to the public. The Chartreuse Experience, a thorough tasting, covers the history of Chartreuse through a series of craft cocktails that represent the seasons. Assembly launched its cocktail program with a short list of seven specialty drinks, including one called Unicorn’s Blood-which includes a delicious combination of Silk Road spices and Amaro di Angostura, bitters, lime juice and cane sugar. Another popular new Assembly cocktail is called Putin’s Pony, an irreverent twist on the traditional Moscow Mule, using regionally-made vodka, infused in-house with ginger, and kaffir lime. Other concoctions, such as one called Company Tea, are inspired by the influential New York cocktail bar Death & Company, and combines Rittenhouse Rye infused with chamomile, vermouth, aperol and yellow chartreuse. Local distillery Venus Spirits, which produces organic small-batch whiskey, gin, aquavit and blue agave spirits, is featured on both Soif and Assembly’s craft cocktail menu.

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