Craft Cocktails

A locally made vodka called South Fork Vodka was released this fall — the latest sign of the boom in craft distilleries. “South Fork Vodka is an elegant hand crafted vodka, distilled six times from American corn, and produced in small batches here in Grass Valley,” according to its owners.

South Fork Vodka (named after the South Fork of the Yuba River) is available at SPD Nevada City and Grass Valley, Tofanelli’s, Cirino’s, Golden Era lounge, Lefty’s Grill, Wild Eye Pub, The Stone House and other locations, according to the distillery. It was also served at the Draft Horse Classic at the Nevada County Fairgrounds this fall, paired with Cirino’s popular Bloody Mary mix.

Other craft distilleries in our region include California Distilled Spirits in Auburn and Dry Diggins Distillery in El Dorado Hills, among others.

The Mountain Mandarin Festival is teaming up with Tito’s Handmade Vodka to offer Mandarin-infused cocktails at its gathering on November 16-18. Tito’s is one of America’s original craft vodkas. It is made in batches, using old-fashioned pot stills.

Maria’s Mexican restaurant in Grass Valley is known for its authentic Mexican food, but it also has a spectacular circular bar that features over 70 quality tequilas. The bar includes flat-screen TVs that are ideally situated for watching football games.

Cirino’s at Main Street is popular with locals, and its bottled “Cirino’s-style” Bloody Mary mix is offered for sale. The history of the Cirino’s Bloody Mary goes back to 1983, when restaurateur Jerry Cirino created his own version of the famous cocktail. The mix is for sale at Cornish Christmas in historic Grass Valley. For more information, call 530-272-MARY or visit

The Golden Era lounge in Nevada City is thinking about hosting monthly “pop up” dinners—pairing imaginative dishes with craft cocktails and fine wines — and we joined a small gathering for a preview. Our six-course dinner, lovingly prepared in Golden Era’s commercial kitchen by super-talented local chefs, was a big hit. We’re hopeful that Golden Era will go ahead with the pop-up dinners.

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