From a classic happy hour spritz to a bourbon based sipper, I love a great cocktail and the new Napa Valley restaurant, Alba, has a killer cocktail list.
I recently attend a media event, where I was invited to try their cocktail creations. Here are a few of my favorite boozy delights to share with you!
Oh, I almost forgot – there was food involved, too!
First, a little bit about Alba
Alba is located in the River Terrace Inn hotel in downtown Napa, the county seat of the Napa County and the biggest city in Napa Valley, the world famous wine region.
The hotel, located on the Napa River, just completed a multi-million dollar renovation, including new hotel rooms, an event center, and the opening of Alba.
Alba’s executive chef is Zanty Tesorero, who worked with bar staff to create a cocktail list that pairs with his menu, which focuses around California cuisine and small plates.
It’s a beautiful restaurant, complete with an awesome patio, where I spent a few hours sipping their new beverages and nibbling away at a few small bites.
The first drink to grace my table was the Noble Sunset. I intentionally ordered this one! One of my favorite apertifs (a light cocktail you have before dinner) is an Aperol Spritz, the slightly sweeter cousin of the Campari Spritz. If you’re Italian, it’s highly likely your go-to “happy hour” drink!
Sobieski Vodka, a polish vodka, stood in for Campari, and was mixed with grapefruit juice and Mionetto Prosecco. Now, I’m not usually a vodka OR grapefruit fan, but this was a refreshing, fruity, delicious twist on a classic. I’ve returned twice just to have this drink!
The next cocktail to grace my palate was The Valley Heat, which comprises Sauza Blue Tequila, jalapeno, cucumber and pineapple. I like margaritas and a little heat in my food, and this was almost the perfect combination of that – just when you soak up the fruit of the pineapple and refreshing cucumber, you get hit with a pinch of heat from the jalapeno! Daring drinkers can also enjoy a tequila soaked jalapeno as a final kick!
Pineapple is a popular at Alba! The third drink reflects that – it was a Pineapple-Ginger Mojito. Mojitos are a drink I rarely order, I’m not a big “mint in cocktail” fan. But, this was really tasty and super refreshing, a perfect boozy cooler after a long day. It comprises Cruzan pineapple rum, garden mint, ginger and lime. The ginger gives the drink a peppery, unique flavor that helps cut the sweetness of the pineapple rum. All that was missing was a pool!
The last cocktail I opted for was the Pisco Sour, hands down one of my favorite cocktails ever! I spent time in Chile a few years back and learned my fair share about pisco, falling in love with the cocktail. Comprising Pisco, lime and egg white, and a splash of traditional bitters on top, this beautfully presented cocktail tasted as good as it looks – a bit of chalkiness from the pisco and the frothiness of the egg. Suffice to say, I chose this as my cocktail to finish down to the last drop!
A visit to Alba can’t be without trying at least a few of the small bites offered by Chef Tesorero.
I tried two tasty dishes, the first, being a corn chowder. Corn was in season when I visited Alba, and it was just a delicous bowl of soup.
Served chilled, it was rich with the flavor of delicious sweet corn, which may sound simple, but, in a land of foodie culture, chefs can often add to many flavors or spices to a dish, drowning out the focus ingredient.
For my second dish, I chose the ahi tuna tacos – and I’m glad I did. Two crispy wonton tacos, providing at least two bites each, filled to the brim with rare ahi tuna. The Sriracha aioli added a lovely, spicy touch, but not too much to take away from the delicious tuna. I also loved the mix of black and white sesame seeds on top.
Suffice to say, I could have eaten these little tacos all day!
Final thoughts about Alba
Whether dining riverside or inside, the beautiful Alba has a cocktail menu worth the trip to downtown Napa. It’s a nice place to take a break from wine tasting (their wine by the glass list was less than enticing when I was there, chock full of common, big name brands – granted this was June when I visited and maybe things have changed) and to relax.
The small bites offered allow for couples to try a few tastes, or larger groups to share the bounty. As a solo traveler, the portion sizes were just right!
It’s also a bit off the beaten path – many folks wouldn’t know about it unless they were staying at the hotel, making it an even more welcome discovery for a local, always looking for something different.
Alba is dog friendly on the patio and ADA accessible. I wouldn’t bring children to this establishment, unless very well behaved.
Take action – visit Alba!
Whether you’re staying at the hotel, or in the area of downtown Napa after a long day of wine tasting, it’s a great pit stop to relax on the patio and catch up on the day.
Alba is open for breakfast daily from 7AM-11AM and dinner daily from 4PM-10PM. The bar opens at 3 PM and happy hour is from 4PM-6PM (discounted drinks, wine, beer and food!). They offer live music during the warmer months.
Alba is located inside the River Terrace Inn, 1600 Soscol Ave, Napa, CA 94559. Check out their website at riverterraceinn.com.
All photos taken by Sarah Stierch (under Creative Commons BY 3.0 license) unless otherwise noted.
This piece was originally published on Steemit in January 2017.