I’m a wine snob. That’s my beverage of choice 90% of the time, though I’ll admit it doesn’t always pair well with Cheerios.
When I’m not sipping Pinot Noir at one of Bend’s amazing wine cafes, I’m usually sampling craft beer along the Bend Ale Trail.
But there are times wine or beer won’t do – when I want something extra special. Those are the times I’m grateful to live in a town with so many amazing cocktails. Here are a few of my favorites:
The simple sips
If I’m looking for something delicious without a lot of frills, there’s no beating the Greyhounds at 900 Wall in downtown Bend. The grapefruit juice is freshly squeezed and mixed with the perfect amount of vodka and ice, and you can’t beat the $5 price tag during happy hour.
Another option is to venture into the Old Mill District where Anthony’s makes a positively divine Manhattan. It’s even more divine if you sip it outside on their patio while watching the Deshchutes River roll past on a lazy summer afternoon.
Though the weather hasn’t warmed up quite yet in Bend, there’s no reason you can’t slip into your flip-flops and pretend you’ve just strolled in from a day paddling the high lakes on a summer day. Joolz in downtown Bend makes a wonderfully refreshing Pim’s Cup. Made with Pims #1, lime, lemon-lime soda, and fresh cucumber, it’s the perfect summery drink and pairs great with the restaurant’s tasty Middle Eastern/Mediterranean cuisine.
Just a few blocks away, El Jimador mixes up another divine cocktail I guarantee will leave you humming mariachi music and checking between your toes for sand. The La Chula is made with elder flower liquor, fresh lime juice, sweet & sour, jalapeno, and cilantro. The $10 price tag is admittedly steep, but it’s a great big drink and well worth the splurge.
One drink that falls perfectly into the category between “simple” and “summery” is the Cucumber Lavender Mojo at Astro Lounge. You’ll love the tidbits of fresh mint and cucumber in this tasty little martini, and you’ll really love the $5 happy hour price tag.
If you like it spicy
Not everyone loves cocktails with a spicy kick, but they’re a personal favorite of mine. Velvet makes an amazing concoction called the Spiced Mimosa. A blend of organic passionfruit puree, spicy Mazama Pepper Vodka, and champagne, this little $5 drink will have you kicking up your heels.
Not to be outdone, Tart Bistro offers a fabulously zingy cocktail called the Sweet Hot Tart. It’s made with pepper vodka, pineapple juice, and fresh squeezed lemon juice, then shaken to perfection. The little chili pepper garnish is an added perk.
Blacksmith Steakhouse Bar & Lounge has a few zingy options as well, including the El Scorcho with habanero-infused vodka, fresh ginger syrup, pineapple, and lime with a frothy jalepeno foam. There’s also the Sum Yung Gi (Red Curry) with coconut rum, Mazama Pepper Vodka, ginger confit, & fresh-squeezed lime.
For the sweet tooth
I’m not generally a fan of the sweet cocktail, but I’ll make an exception for a few special beverages. 10 Below has a scrumptious drink called the Mello Yellow. Made with marshmallow infused vodka, champagne syrup, and fresh squeezed lemon juice, you can have it for dessert or just for solo sipping.
The chocolate indulgence is a great option for chocoholics visiting The Blacksmith. It’s made with chocolate syrup, molasses cream, and chocolate liqueur with a dark-chocolate peanut rim. Yum!
Got a favorite cocktail in Bend? Where’s your favorite spot for sipping? Please share!
And please don’t feel the need to sample all my suggestions in one evening. You want to be able to remember your visit to Bend, preferably without referencing your prison mug shot.