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…