Shaken, not Stirred: Cocktails in the Sierra Foothills and High Sierra

Here are some of our favorite spots for martinis and craft cocktails in Grass Valley, Auburn and Truckee:

GOLDEN ERA LOUNGE
Golden Era serves perfect hand-crafted cocktails (with names such as “Miner’s Punch,” “Gold Rush Sour” or “Nevada City Swizzle”), as well as craft beers, local wines and non-alcoholic soda fountain drinks. Weekend music includes piano or soft jazz. Nevada City. GoldenEraLounge.com

LEFTY’S GRILL
Lefty’s serves “the perfect cocktail.” Customers can order their old, favorite cocktail or a new craft cocktail, just like they can order a delicious Napa-style pizza or from the menu. Drinks include a Dirty Martini, Moscow Mule and Old Fashioned. The Bloody Mary mix is made from scratch. Nevada City. LeftysGrill.com

MONKEY CAT
An exotic setting, ideal for a classic martini, Manhattan or more adventurous cocktail. Cosmopolitans, Moscow Mules, Lemon
Drops, Apple-tini and melon martinis in a comfortable lounge and bar. Specialty drinks include a “Monkey Tai.” Expertly shaken martinis are $6 during happy hour. Auburn. MonkeyCat.com

TOFANELLI’S
A classic Gold Rush-era bar. The best Lemon Drops in town (made with a whole lemon). Fresh-squeezed OJ in your Mimosa. Excellent Bloody Mary (with homemade mix and fresh fixings). The bar menu also includes Darjeeling Gin from California Distilled Spirits in Auburn. GV Tofanellis.com

MARIA’S MEXICAN RESTAURANT
A spectacular circular bar that offers top-shelf margaritas and other cocktails. Features over 70 high-quality tequilas and fresh, frozen drinks. GV. MariasGrassValley.com

MOODY’S BISTRO BAR & BEATS
A ‘50s-style restaurant and bar located in the historic Truckee Hotel. Specialty drinks include the Sour Cherry Side Car, Jalapeño Cucumber Margarita, Wry Rye Martini and Moody’s Mule. Truckee. MoodysBistro.com

Whiskey Made in Auburn
Craft distillers are booming in California, thanks to increased demand and loosened restrictions on how hard liquor can be sold.

In the Sierra Foothills, California Distilled Spirits in Auburn is a pioneer. We’ve written about its award-winning Darjeeling Gin. It is a “gin fancier’s gin,” as wine and spirits connoisseur Darrell Corti, owner of Corti Brothers in Sacramento, has stated.

Now Ed Arnold, owner of California Distilled Spirits, has just turned out a batch of its whiskey. Ed explains: “From barrel to bottle — 2/3 malted barley, 1/3 corn, 100 proof. Rich, smooth, complex, only 140 bottles.” Visit CaliforniaDistilledSpirits.com for more information.

(Photo: Kial James)

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