Best Summer Cocktails to Sip at Healdsburg Restaurants and Bars
Healdsburg is a charmingly quaint wine country hamlet with uptown taste, and the craft cocktail scene has quickly risen to the ranks of its restaurants and wineries. So, next time you go wine tasting in nearby Russian River Valley, Alexander Valley or Dry Creek Valley, make sure to pace yourself and save room for a Healdsburg cocktail crawl with our list of the best summer cocktails from mixologists at Healdsburg restaurants and bars. (We also included Geyserville Gun Club, a funky-hip watering hole a few miles north of downtown Healdsburg that is well worth the drive.) These mixed drinks are refreshing, light and smooth–all made with unique ingredients and some presented so beautifully you’ll spend as much time photographing your cocktail as you will sipping it. If you can’t make it to Healdsburg, get ideas for your own backyard mixology party with these summer cocktail names.
Best Summer Cocktails to Sip at Healdsburg Bars & Restaurants
The Villaseñora at Duke’s Spirited Cocktails
Somewhere in South America, there is a magical vacation house where everything looks, smells and tastes like the Villaseñora cocktail from Duke’s on the Healdsburg square. I want to live in that villa when I’m old and gray, sipping pisco and smelling the passion fruit, plucked straight from backyard trees. Until then, I’ll head to Duke’s for the beautiful Peruvian-inspired cocktail. It’s tart yet subtly sweet from the combination of pisco, lemon and yuzu citrus mixed with pineapple and passion fruit. In times of COVID-19, they’re serving up cocktails to-go from their sidewalk window and are offering outdoor picnic seating.
A Cocktail for Carl at Spirit Bar
One of the mainstays at this swanky hotel lobby bar, A Cocktail for Carl features homemade jalapeño-infused tequila, lime, agave and cilantro. The best part for me is the kick of spice from its tajin-spiked rim. Double-down on the spicy factor with Spirit Bar’s chicken wings, one of the best appetizers in Healdsburg. During the summer, patio tables and couch seating in the courtyard are available for drinks and bites alfresco—though Spirit Bar’s adjacent fire place and surrounding lounge are the perfect backdrop for sipping on Carl in the winter and fall.
The She Devil at Geyserville Gun Club
Most Sundays for the last six months, you’d find me perched on a barstool at the Geyserville Gun Club, drinking my afternoon aperitif, which was usually the She Devil. This refreshing cocktail has mezcal, lime and ghost pepper, but it’s not too smoky or spicy. Though this bar is not in Healdsburg, it’s totally worth the 10-minute drive north on Highway 101. Guests can currently order Gun Club cocktails at neighboring restaurant, Diavola Pizzeria & Salumeria.
Lady in Red at Campo Fina
The hidden patio at Campo Fina may be best known for its bocce ball court and wood-fired pizza oven, but don’t overlook the Italian restaurant’s compact cocktail list. The fuchsia-hued Lady in Red gets its color from hibiscus flower liqueur and its mild tartness from a triple threat of delicious citrus (Meyer lemon vodka, pisco and lime), which balances the flower’s sweetness perfectly. The subtle notes of orange peel come from Bauchant, a Cognac-based liqueur. Don’t miss the meatballs, either.
New East Side at Spoonbar
Almost too pretty to drink, this refreshing cocktail is a mod take on the classic gin fizz. The aromatics of the gin, cucumber foam and fresh mint play off the drink’s citrus notes of yuzu and lime. Sip while people watching those on the street, thanks to Spoonbar’s open-air and garden seating.
Sun’s Out, Shrubs Out at Valette
This dark cocktail gets its color from blackberry shrub. We can thank Vida Del Maguey Single Village Mezcal for its mildly smoky-smooth taste. Soda is the key mixer, giving Sun’s Out, Shrub’s Out a refreshing finish. Sip and enjoy with a fan-favorite appetizer like Dustin’s Hawaiian Ahi Poke or Day Boat Scallops en Croute on their new outdoor patio on North Street. Make a reservation on their website.
The Rooftop at Harmon House Rooftop Lounge
Another colorful summer sipper, the Rooftop is calling all Mezcal lovers. Made with mezcal, watermelon, basil, lime, agave and grand marnier, it is light, refreshing and goes down way too quickly. What makes this a must-have summer cocktail is the backdrop—you’re sipping from the top story of Healdsburg’s newest hotel and rooftop lounge open to the public. Come at 3 p.m. when the restaurant opens to snag the couch seating on the street-facing side of the open terrace. Closed Mondays.
Eight of the Best Summer Cocktails at Healdsburg Bars & Restaurants (2017 Edition)
This clever Game of Thrones cocktail is featured on the annuals menu at Healdsburg plaza’s popular neighborhood bar, so it may disappear this fall…winter is coming, after all. Named after Arya Stark’s pseudonym from season 6, Drink Has No Name is made with Tapatio tequila, cantaloupe, Calabrian chili tincture, lemon and BroVo Spirits Pretty Floral Vermouth. It’s garnished with Calabrian chiles, shredded into little threads–just like Aryna’s arch nemesis, the Waif, after their final battle. Make it at home for your next Game of Thrones watch party, but it’s just as fun to drink it at Duke’s window seats overlooking Healdsburg plaza.
This island-inspired summer cocktail transports me back to my South Florida days. Served in a coupe glass, it’s a blend of Novo Fogo Organic Cachaça (the key ingredient in caipirinhas), Plantation Original Dark Rum, and tropical bitters with strawberry and key lime foam. A well-balanced summer sipper, the Key West is not too sweet like many tropical drinks. Order the mini cheeseburgers, and you’ll feel the urge to start singing a Jimmy Buffett song.
Don’t get attached to a craft cocktail at downtown Geyserville’s killer neighborhood bar; the menu changes so often, it’s hard to keep up with the creativity of Geyserville Gun Club’s mixologists. I’m already mourning the loss of Luck Dragon, a new cocktail recipe that debuted August 1 and could have easily been named Mother of Dragons or Lucky Khaleesi. Made with Dry Creek Peach & Produce organic peaches, infused Campo De Encanto Pisco, dragoncello (Italian for tarragon), honey, lime, egg white and Absinthe, the Luck Dragon is sure to become a Gun Club legend–just like the Pimm’s Cup, pictured at the top. Some of their most beloved cocktails of the past can be ordered off menu, such as the Paper Plane, featured in the Healdsburg Cocktail Triangle. I can only hope Luck Dragon makes that list.
Hidden inside the Hotel Healdsburg lobby, Spirit Bar serves this beautiful, golden-hued cocktail made with Sauza Reposado Tequila, Chartreuse Yellow, agave, lemon juice and egg white. The bar only has a handful of seats, so it’s a fun spot for avoiding the crowds at bigger and busier drinking spots in downtown Healdsburg. Drinks are created by the resident bartender at Hotel Healdsburg’s restaurant, Charlie Palmer’s Dry Creek Kitchen.
Sipping on a glass of wine or a craft cocktail in the charming backyard at Barndiva is a must for your things to do in Healdsburg list. During summer, order the goat cheese croquettes with wildflower honey and a Let the Dogs In–a bright, citrusy cocktail made with Bummer & Lazarus Dry Gin (crafted by a San Francisco distiller and named after two stray dogs), Aperol, St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur, fresh lemon, house grapefruit bitters and a splash of soda. Garnished with grapefruit peel and edible flowers, it’s so pretty that you’ll feel guilty emptying the glass. Trust us. It goes down fast. (Travel tip: The “dogs” can also be enjoyed in The Gallery garden next door to Barndiva.)
This light, spicy cocktail is one of my favorite Healdsburg mixed drinks. A blend of VIDA (an organic Mezcal from Del Maguey), cucumber, lime, lemongrass, jalapeño, bergamot citrus and Rao Ram (home-grown Vietnamese coriander), the Siren is smooth with a smoky, peppery kick on the finish. Part of Duke’s perennial cocktail menu, so you can order it year-round. A nice alternative to a margarita.
The most traditional of our favorite summer mixed drinks, Doc Holiday is a whiskey cocktail made with Rittenhouse Rye, Amaro, house-infused tobacco bitters, a Mexican herb blend called epazote and Valerian bitters. It has a smooth, classic taste. Although Valette restaurant is known for its award-winning wine list (presented on an iPad with the Tastevin app), its compact cocktail menu is creative and not to be overlooked. Mixologist Brandon Manning is unveiling a new collection of signature drinks later this month.
Everyone loves a good margarita, and Mateo’s Cucina Latina is the place for the best fresh margaritas in Healdsburg. Flavors change weekly, depending on what’s harvested from local farms. A summer favorite is the Dry Creek Peach Margarita, made with different varieties of peaches organically grown at Dry Creek Peach & Produce, a few miles from downtown Healdsburg. This summer, the smooth sipper is being served straight up, but I recommend it on the rocks with salt. Other margarita flavors featured in past summers include strawberry, padron peppers and basil.