Maybe it’s just me, but vegetarian restaurants aren’t the first place I think of when I want to get my booze on. But last night Café Flora in Madison Valley proved me wrong. Bar manager Amber Ricciardi’s new slew of housemade craft sodas (house soda water mixed with syrups from seasonal produce and herbs) came heavily spiked with spirits.
My hands down favorite was the Apricot Cardamom Fizz paired with Old Overholt rye whiskey; I’m relatively new to the whiskey world and so the fruity, slightly spicy soda took the edge off while still bringing the smokiness of the liquor. My dining partner and I fought over it. We ended up just passing it back and forth.... The Blueberry Lavender Fizz, though, really allowed for the lavender to break through paired as it was with the best background spirit, vodka. Also new on the list is the Cantaloupe Hibiscus Cooler with rum; tasty, but a little too cantaloupe forward for me.
Besides the rotating menu of sodas, Ricciardi says she’s also in the process of transitioning the bar’s stock of spirits to those made from small batch distilleries (both local and beyond), such as Crater Lake Vodka. And look for autumnal versions of the sodas – like apple and pear blends – come fall.