By Emma Krasov. Photography by Yuri Krasov.
On summer afternoons, Lake Merritt in Oakland, California, doubles in value. Jogging, dog walking, and kayaking or sail boating here are some of the favorite pastimes of the city dwellers. Many Oaklanders as well as people from farther-away suburbs and towns come over to catch a breeze on an overwater terrace of Lake Chalet Seafood Bar & Grill—a popular dining establishment in a renovated boat house with multiple outdoor seating areas, well-equipped bars, private rooms, and consistently good cocktails.
The restaurant recently greeted within its walls one friendly spirit, traveling from Mexico—Patrón tequila. Its many wonderful qualities as well as specifics of the spirit’s production were introduced by Antonio Rodriguez, the brand’s US representative, at a tequila-paired dinner with about a hundred attendees.
In his presentation, Rodriguez introduced Patrón as the largest producer in the industry, and the product as 100% sustainable, made from the highest-quality hand-harvested pure blue Weber agave (a.k.a. agave azul or agave tequilana).
Named after Franz Weber, a German naturalist who classified the species, agave tequilana is distilled in the Highlands of Jalisco state. According to Rodriguez, some 2,500 people work at the Patrón distillery, and the company takes care of its employees by offering multiple benefits and providing scholarships for further education. “Every time you buy a bottle of Patrón you’re helping our people,” he said.
The lavish Patrón-themed reception at Lake Chalet started with flutes of tequila-based sparkling cocktail and hors d’oeuvres, like mini crab cakes. The arrival of guests coincided with the golden hour of early evening sunlight coloring the lake and the sky above in rosy pastel hues.
In Gondola private dining room upstairs, a four-course dinner, prepared by Chef Juan Mojica and his team, was served with signature Patrón cocktails accompanying every dish.
Served with the first course of Local Rockfish Tostadas with padrone peppers and lime, the cocktail, Cancion del Mango, made with Patrón Silver, mango, tamarind, lemon and orange over crushed ice, presented a perfect summertime libation, with a right balance of sweet and sour notes, and a satisfying freshness enhanced by Silver’s complexity and fruitiness.
The second course, Roasted Red Shrimp with garlic, scallions, and Calabrian chili over corn pudding, was paired with a strong and concentrated La Furia of Patrón Reposado, Nixta liqueur, lemon, agave syrup, and spicy bitters.
For the delicious third course of Carne Adovada (braised pork in red chili sauce over rice and beans), El Pasado cocktail was made with Patrón Añejo, rye whiskey, piloncillo syrup, and baking spices with a pronounced flavor of cinnamon.
A decadent dessert of Chocolate Truffle Cake with dulce de leche filling and raspberry sauce, found a great match in smooth and bright Patrón Extra Añejo of amber-golden color, aged for at least three years in American and French oak, and served neat for a nose of dry fruit, vanilla, and banana, and a deep, nuanced oaky palate.
Lake Chalet Seafood Bar & Grill is located at 1520 Lakeside Drive. The restaurant is open daily for lunch and for dinner, plus for brunch on weekends. Call 510-208-5253 or visit www.TheLakeChalet.com.
To learn more about Patrón tequila go to https://www.patrontequila.com/.
Seagram’s 7 American Blended Whiskey produced by Diageo, now travels through the dive bars of American neighborhoods on the wings of their own invention. As the National Day Calendar https://nationaldaycalendar.com/national-dive-bar-day-july-7/ kindly informs us, “Seagram’s Seven Crown founded National Dive Bar Day on July 7th to honor all the dive bars around the country and to recognize them as an American past time that will never die. Seagram’s Seven Crown strives to help preserve the dive bar, those places with lasting personality, who take care of their own. Through historic preservation initiatives, Seagram’s 7 supports the National Trust for Historic Preservation.”
Starting July 7 until August 5, 2022 Seagram’s 7 Whiskey launched the National Dive Bar Day Sweepstakes in partnership with actor and comedian, Iliza Shlesinger, to celebrate dive bar regulars by picking up their bar tab.
Submit your dive bar “rules” for a chance to win $700, for the 700 hours following July 7 National Dive Bar Day (which brings us to August 5). About every 100 hours, Seagram’s 7 selects a new winner along with a new prompt for the next round–for 7 chances to win. If you frequent a dive bar anywhere in the US, check out the rules and enter the sweepstakes at https://www.seagrams7.com/regularsrules.
Seagram’s 7 donates $7 for every entry (up to $10,000) to Main Street Alliance—a self-funded nonprofit membership organization that supports small businesses, including dive bars.
To replicate a favorite dive bar Seagram’s 7&7 cocktail at home, follow this recipe. Ingredients: 1.5 oz Seagram’s 7 Crown Blended Whiskey, 5 oz. 7UP, slice of lime. How to Make: Add Seagram’s 7 Crown Blended Whiskey and 7UP soda to a highball glass with ice. Stir well. Garnish with a lime slice. Enjoy!
Learn more at https://www.seagrams7.com/.
Cascade Moon Aged 15 Years Barrel Proof Spirits Distilled from Grain
Not a whisky, but “a spirit distilled from grain,” simply because it’s barrel proof is less than 80, the new (since 2020) line of “Mellow as Moonlight” libations from Cascade Hollow Distilling Co. has a great ability to travel from its native Tennessee to Texas and California to prove that quality is not necessarily tied to high proof.
The company’s General Manager and Distiller Nicole Austin produced this “surprise twist on barrel proof” with an idea to challenge the perception that high proof is synonymous with high quality.
“With each Cascade Moon release, I’ve had the chance to share a variety of different offerings based on my inspirations at the time,” she said. “One thing that drew me toward releasing something like Cascade Moon 15 Year Old Barrel Proof is how it perfectly demonstrates the balance of approachability and quality possible with a lower proof spirit. I hope this release helps change the way the category perceives lower proof spirits, while also providing whisky fans with access to an elegant spirit.”
So, call it any name you want, Cascade Moon, distilled from a mash of corn, rye, and malt, and aged in new charred American oak barrels makes its bold statement with just 39.9% while its whisky brethren proudly display all of their 40% alc./vol. Nevertheless, even though these barrels proof dropped from the original 115 proof to 79.8—below the minimum standard to be classified as a whisky during the aging process, Cascade Moon is equal parts complex and sophisticated—and light and easy to drink.
This pleasantly mellow small-batch spirit, best suitable for drinking neat or on the rocks, offers a unique tasting experience with tropical nose, vanilla and dry fruit palate, and long, warming leather and oak finish. It finds its rightful place among the other famed brands from Diageo portfolio, like Johnnie Walker, Crown Royal, Bulleit and Buchanan’s whiskies, etc. etc.
By the producers’ definition, the Cascade Moon series “pays homage to the distillery’s history, while continuing to set the tone for the future of the whisky category.” At the moment, Cascade Moon is available in select markets for a limited time, so hurry up to add it to your collection of traveling spirits.
Find out more at https://www.cascademooneditions.com/.
Gin de Las Californias
Here comes one boundaries-defying spirit, traveling between two Californias– Alta (USA) and Baja (Mexico). Created by Master Distiller Iván Saldaña of Casa Lumbre—a Mexican producer of premium, farm-to-bottle spirits, Las Californias Gin, launched just a month ago, in June 2022, contains indigenous botanicals from both regions that culminate in two distinct variants—Nativo and Cítrico.
Both variants are based on Juniperus californica—a unique plant that only grows in a small area along the Pacific Coast between Hollywood and the Ojos Negro Valley.
Besides Juniperus californica that delivers a soft piney profile to the gin, Nativo contains Pacific kelp that adds salt and minerality, Californian Artemisia with its deep herbaceousness, and desert-grown Damiana with sweet woody flavors.
In Cítrico, lemongrass, figs, and almonds, all from a modern day California, enhance the aroma and flavor with subtle citrusy notes.
Get more information at https://lascalifornias.com/.