Bitters Bring Sweet Summer Escapes

As we’re dreaming of summer vacation, we’ve found joy in the fact that we actually don’t have to travel far for an ultimate escape.

Living in the North Bay, we have a wealth of world-class resorts, bed-and-breakfasts, and restaurants. One of the joys of such abundance is that even when we don’t have time to take an entire week or weekend, we can plan an hours-long getaway.

Often, even one happy hour will suffice. An excellent cocktail in beautiful surroundings brings a sure taste of rest and relaxation.

The creative mixologists at Farm at The Carneros Inn have just supplied the perfect reason for a mini vacation. New to the stylish eatery is a cocktail menu based on the world’s most storied elixir, bitters. The fanciful drinks blend bitters made from innovative ingredients like Buddha’s Hand citrus, oak chips, and hops.

Here’s our idea of the perfect time: settled back in the outdoor living room-styled alfresco Farm lounge, our face gently lit by the flickering flames of two fireplaces, sipping a floral spritzer, and nibbling on bar bites from chef de cuisine Andrew Budnyj.

To whet your appetite, here’s what you can expect on your own mini-vacation. The lounge menu is offered from 4 to 10 p.m. daily, and here are the new cocktails:

    Charbay Green Tea Vodka, Domaine de Canton Ginger Liqueur, Honey, Lemon, Buddha’s Hand Bitters, Lemongrass Foam …14.
    Bacon-infused Bulleit Bourbon, House Made Oak Chip Bitters, Perucci Vermouth, Smoked Guinness Foam …14.
    Nolet Gin, St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur, Hibiscus, Prosecco…14.
    Ciroc Peach, Muddled Peaches, Egg White, Hop Bitters…14.
    Dickel 12 yr. Whiskey, Blackberries, Lemon, Sugar…14.
    Pitu Cachaca, Lime, Sugar, Coconut Water…14.

Such substantial drinks call for substantial snacks, and chef Budnyj delivers with specialties like zesty green garlic soup drizzled in Regina olive oil and scattered with chives; Carolina style sliders of slow braised pork alongside pickled garden vegetables; and the “Wine Country Chicken Wing” of confit squab legs zinged with ginger glaze and house made kimchee.

To make dinner of it, you can dig into the hearty Farm Burger (add blue cheese and upgrade from the great crispy fries to the terrific truffle fries); a grilled country ham and cheese that will make you wonder why you don’t eat this every single day (Parisian ham, gruyère, green salad); or Carnaroli risotto studded with Maine lobster, preserved Meyer lemon and watercress leaves.

Then, sit back, relax, and take in the cool, Wine Country air. It’s your time to chill.

Details: The Carneros Inn, 4048 Sonoma Hwy., Napa, 707-299-4880,

Tip: Start your vacation early – at your front door – with chauffer service from Pure Luxury Transportation.

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