You know that place you'd frequent after work? If you're by John Wayne, that's probably Classic Q. Once upon a time, mine was The Melting Pot. Instead of the most expensive DIY-meal in the county (that wasn't shabu), I'd score their deal at the bar--a salad, drink and cheese course for about half the cost. This is where my cocktail education started, where everything I sipped a decade ago had a pretty, candy hue--sorry not sorry, because I learned well.
Nowadays, visits happen about once a year. Very little has changed, but there's something to be said for familiarity. December is the only month they serve both lunch and dinner, and it shows--the Friday I visited, couples overran the spot, forty-somethings sharing glasses of wine and flutes with rosy bubbles. Narrowly avoiding the Sour Patch 'tini and predictable Lemon Drop, I settled on a hybrid of sorts in the Grapes of Wrath.
All it features is freshly muddled grapes in a base of Belvedere Vodka and St. Germain, and a pour of Matua, a Marlborough white. A dry, slightly bitter aftertaste beats any of their extra sugary cohorts by a mile. Never thought I'd thank a Sauvignon Blanc for helping my taste buds, but there's a first for everything...
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