Last Call: Duke’s Spirited Cocktails
At Duke’s Spirited Cocktails in Healdsburg, Calif., the term “craft cocktails” is taken literally. Doors opened in June 2016 and the place was an instant hit. When you enter, the first thing you’ll likely notice is the amazing selection of pretty much every kind of spirit you can imagine, with a heavy influence of local producers.
The menu includes “Tap Roots” (six different carbonated cocktails on tap), “Annuals” (seasonally influenced gifts from the cocktail masters), “Perennials” (year-round favorite mixes) and a wonderful selection of almost entirely local wine, beer and cider. The bar also makes its own sodas including root beer, ginger brew, tonic, seltzer, grapefruit and lemon-lime. Most ingredients are grown locally and organically. There’s also a chalkboard menu featuring a “daily inspiration” cocktail, which changes every two to five days, and a rotating selection of “Spritz,” “Punch” and sangria options.
One of the most popular tapped drinks is “Fool’s Paradise,” a sassy and refreshing blend of Frida Khalo tequila, clarified passionfruit, Dolin Blanc vermouth and bay laurel. From the annuals list, The Siren (Vida Mezcal, cucumber, lime, lemongrass, jalapeño, bergamot and rao ram) is a smoky, scintillating choice.
We spoke with co-founder Tara Heffernon, who partnered with Laura Sanfilippo, Steven Maduro and Cappy Sorentino to make things happen. The four had all previously worked at nearby Spoonbar. The partners designed the interior of their new space with reclaimed wood, locally built furniture and warm, inviting personal touches. There’s a long main bar as well as table seating — and plenty of room to dance to its popular playlists. “It’s a rare evening that the dance floor doesn’t see any action,” says Heffernon.
The Sound of Music
“This one is a seasonal favorite with a collection of spirits including one of our favorite vermouth producers from Napa,” says Heffernon. Bottoms up!
1 ounce Apostles gin
.5 ounces Hophead vodka
.25 ounces Lo Fi vermouth
.25 ounces Dolin Genepy
.5 ounces fresh lemon juice
.5 ounces tarragon syrup
2 dashes Scrappy’s celery bitters
Measure all ingredients into a shaker tin. Add ice, shake and double strain into a coupe. Garnish with fresh tarragon.
Duke’s Spirited Cocktails
111 Plaza St.
Open nightly at 4 p.m.