Thursday, April 7, 2016

Literary-Themed Spring Cocktails at Kings Row Gastropub (Pasadena, CA)

I have to admit, I hadn't really bothered looking at the cocktail menu at Kings Row Gastropub in Old Town Pasadena before, after all, it's a beer bar, right? Well, I was wrong. Kings Row Gastropub actually has a solid cocktail menu - one of the best in Pasadena - thanks to bartender Zulma Cobain.

Kings Row Gastropub
Just like previous menus, her new spring cocktail menu is literary-themed. See how many titles/references you can pick out!

The menu starts out from the lighter ones:
Infinite Jest (Pisco Capurro, sugar, Pimm's No 1, lemon juice, raspberries, bitters)
Kings Row Gastropub
A very appropriate thirst quencher to start a spring tasting, and great for all Pimm's fans.
(The name is a title of David Foster Wallace's book).

Spring & All (Old Forrester, Averna, passionfruit, lemon)
Kings Row Gastropub
Spring is a time for fruits and flowers, after all, and the passionfruit goes perfectly with bourbon. Zulma's cocktails are not overly sweet and were all well balanced. 
(Spring and All is a poetry book by William Carlos Williams)
Pale Fire (Zubrowka bison grass vodka, velvet falernum, lime juice, Clear Creek pear brandy)
Kings Row Gastropub
Zubrowka is a unique vodka - not all vodka is flavorless - and works well for this light and refreshing (yet packs some nice flavors) drink.
(Pale Fire is a novel by Vladimir Nabokov.)

The Drunken Boat (Damrak gin, green apple, lime, green chartreuse)
Kings Row Gastropub
Being a fan of The Last Word, I really enjoyed this gin cocktail, balanced out by the green apple juice.
(The Drunken Boat is a poem by Arthur Rimbaud.)

Tropic of Cancer (Hamilton Jamaican rum, Banks 5 Island rum, cane syrup, lemon, bitters)
Kings Row Gastropub
A richer and darker daiquiri thanks to the blend of rums that includes the funky Hamilton Jamaican rum.
(Tropic of Cancer is a controversial novel by Henry Miller.)

Under the Volcano (El Silencio mezcal, pineapple juice, lime, orgeat, cream)
Kings Row Gastropub
Is it vacation time yet? This creamy mezcal drink sure makes me feel like it.
(Under the Volcano is a novel set in Mexico by Malcolm Lowry).

Hot Water Music (Sino reposado tequila, carrot juice, lime, and bitters)
Kings Row Gastropub
I've had carrot cocktails a couple of times before, but this one is an unusual take on it, since it's on the drier side. Instead of being sweet like carrot juice, it adds a vegetal note.
(Hot Water Music is a collection of short stories by Charles Bukowski).
Kings Row Gastropub

Zulma also makes a great Old Fashioned variation using vodka. Yes, a vodka Old Fashioned. She makes it using Fair Quinoa vodka with Barkeep's lavender bitters.
Kings Row Gastropub

This drink will tell you that you should't dismiss vodka so quickly because of its reputation! You'll be surprised at the complexity in this vodka drink.
Kings Row Gastropub
To coat our stomachs from the booze, we got some snacks ... no charcuterie board here, we got the bacon board. Yes, a board of thick cut bacon served with peanut butter and dark chocolate.
Kings Row Gastropub

Also not to miss is their dessert: Tres Leches Coconut Cream Pie
Kings Row Gastropub
It's more of a cream pie than tres leches, but either way it's really good!

As it was my first time actually trying the cocktails at Kings Row Gastropub, I was pleasantly surprised! There aren't a lot of good cocktail bars in Pasadena, especially Old Town Pasadena, but Kings Row Gastropub will definitely be on my list next time, and should be on yours, as well.

Kings Row Gastropub
20 E Colorado Blvd
Pasadena, CA 91103


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