Ira Comello, Grasing’s
NW corner of Sixth and Mission, Carmel
(831) 624-6562, www.grasings.com
Ira Comello is the kind of bartender who can make a classy place feel like a friendly neighborhood joint, who while concocting delicacies for a busy 100-seat restaurant can also hold down steady banter at a small bar and make you feel like a regular. It’s appropriate that his official title is “social chemist,” considering how deft he is at conversation, but he’s also got what it takes in the liquid chemistry department, applying subtle, creative twists to classic cocktails. Comello’s spiced Manhattan features his house-infused bourbon which settles for five days in the basement with vanilla beans, cloves, dried cherries and ginger, and agave nectar. It smells like Christmas, which is fitting for drinks that make every day feel like a holiday.