High Bar

A nuanced citrus flavor that is not quite lemon descends and is overcome by a tossed ocean breeze. The hoarse salinity grounds the cocktail in fields of celery. Slowly a cool essence, minty and slightly bitter, eases over your palate. And for a second, right at the top, there’s a refreshing splash, like cucumber.

“The salt brings out flavors you don’t even know were there,” says Anthony Vitacca, director of wine and spirits for Carmel institutions Little Napoli, Vesuvio and – newly rebranded as a cocktail destination – Bar Napoli.

The veteran mixologist just rolled out a list of cocktails to mark the opening of Bar Napoli, the former wine shop Vino Napoli. And they are true to the form of someone who considers bitters as “salt and pepper” – wavering on a tightrope as distractions and unforeseen portents swirl about. Grunge n’ Ganja plays with Stiggin’s Pineapple Rum, which offers a tropical puree with hints of sweetgrass and just enough ginger to tickle the palate. And it continues to frolic from there.

As part of the introduction, Bar Napoli created happy hour pricing – a temporary welcome that may be the best deal on the Peninsula. Cocktails at $7.50 are otherwise unheard of these days. Vitacca is also considering three distinct drink menus, one for each establishment. For now there are eight options and they are created with bee pollen or cherry bark or whatever creates an intricate yet approachable feel.

“They’re all my babies,” Vitacca says. “Although behind closed doors, you might have a favorite child.”

BAR NAPOLI, Dolores and 7th, Carmel. Open daily 1-10pm (happy hour 4-6pm). 626-7373.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.