There is something about challenging times that sparks the next best idea. In this case, it’s a drinkable and quite enjoyable solution to the current global landscape that prevents us from visiting our favorite watering holes.
While it’s true that a bar seat is simply irreplaceable based on many factors like a friendly conversation, a warm and inviting ambiance and most importantly, your favorite concoction, which transports you to the promised land — the last part is now covered by mixologist Andrew Salazar and the Miminashi team.
During one of our first outings into the Napa dining scene, we visited the closest place to home that reminds me of my second home, Japan. We ventured to Miminashi on a weekday night, taking advantage of their cozy and trending outdoor setting.
We were thrilled to see Chef Curtis Di Fede and Jessica Di Fede working hard with a welcoming smile.
The fare for the evening was full of our Miminashi favorites, from the fresh and memorable King Salmon Sashimi ($16) and the Spinach & Cured Duck Salad ($15), perfectly dressed with yuzu, soba dashi and mandarin kosho, to one of my all-time favorites, the Corn Fritter ($6) with Japanese mayo. My wife Laura’s favorite, the grilled Salmon Kama (collar) ($MP) was followed by a parade of robata, which included the out-of-this world Maitake Mushrooms ($8) and a few chicken skewers.
Andrew Salazar at his natural habitat — behind the bar — took time to meticulously explain their newest project, canned cocktails.
Yes, you read right. Salazar’s reputation as one of the top cocktail doctors in California is no secret. He has worked on mastering his craft for years and his drinks deliver an experience every time.
As they say, “Necessity is the mother of all invention,” or something like that. Faced with a lack of bar patrons, the Miminashi team set on a quest to find a canning system that now makes dreams come true for many. We now have the luxury of being able to buy Miminashi cocktails to-go in cans.
Andrew demonstrated the process by which all cocktails are made to order, and, very importantly, based on experience, the longevity of each cocktail.
For anybody who has experienced Andrew’s potions, you’re in for a treat that can travel anywhere with you. We recently drove to Los Angeles and brought a couple of canned cocktails to share with friends at dinner and they were a hit.
The list is composed of six cocktails that includes one of Andrew’s favorite Tiki drinks, the Mary Pickford, which is fun, fresh and balanced composed of light rum, pineapple, maraschino, tamarind-grenadine and lime. Also from the Tiki realm is the O.G. Mai Tai made with aged rums from Jamaica and Martinique, lime, curacao, orgeat. If this one doesn’t take you to an island paradise, nothing will.
The Royal Hawaiian Mai Tai is made with a blend of light and dark rums, lemon, lime, orange, pineapple, curacao and orgeat Also in the arsenal is Queen Anne’s Revenge packed with bourbon, vanilla-infused sherry, Heering cherry, lemon, ginger beer, Angostura bitters, absinthe. The Yellow Boxer No. 2 is made with Tequila blanco, Yellow Chartreuse, lemon, elderflower cordial, calamansi. The easy-drinking Kepani Cooler is Japanese whisky, falernum, grapefruit, cinnamon, lemon and yuzu soda.
“In addition to the lineup, we can offer any drinks from the Rolodex,” Andrew said, referring to this staple of Miminashi, which includes countless classics.
Beer in a can is also an option. They will can the draft Asahi, which tastes, just like having it at an Izakaya in Tokyo.
The canned creations come in two sizes: the 330 milliliter can, which is the equivalent of two cocktails is $22, and a 500ml can for $33 is the equivalent of three cocktails.
In addition, the team will offer a 3-pack box ($60), perfect for any occasion.
Also worth mentioning is their thoughtful wine and sake program.
Cheers to the always inspiring Miminashi team for keeping us well-fed and hydrated.
Be well and be kind!
Watch now: Outdoor dining in Napa