Cocktails on The Dock of the Bay
The Julius Tang is just the thang for summer.
The Julius Tang.
There's a boozy paradise brewing (or being uncorked or stirred up, depending on your preference) off the beaten path in West Oakland. Freshly settled between the Campovida wine tasting room and the Linden Street Brewery is the focus of this month's column: The Dock at Linden Street, the latest restaurant venture by chef/owner James Syhabout (Commis, Hawker Fare, and Box and Bells), in partnership with Linden Street's Adam Lamoreaux.
The Dock's cocktail program comes courtesy of Christ* Aivaliotis and Troy Bayless, aka the Wizard Oil Co. The pair had previously consulted and collaborated on drink menus on both sides of the bay, but The Dock is the first program they've designed under the new moniker, inspired by an old bottled concoction hawked turn of the century as a cure-all tonic. And while a good cocktail can't cure everything that ails you, the name conjures up something larger than that. "There's a theater that goes with being a bartender, going to a bar, especially now," says Bayless. "People show up and want to be entertained. They want the bartender to make them something amazing. Shiny bottles with beautiful things inside them. Things that were once hard to find but aren't anymore, but still have that aura."
The drinks at The Dock are inspired by the stories the bottles carry as well as by the location of the establishment--in the shadow of those otherworldly cranes. "We're right at the Port of Oakland, where the world comes," says Aivaliotis. So the drinks are "global in focus but maintaining the idea of ingredients that are made well, or at least have a really good story behind them." The menu itself is simple by design: three session-ready highballs, three shot-and-beer combos, five cocktails, and a punch of the day. But the spirits behind the bar include Emperor Norton absinthe, made on Treasure Island and named for one of the greatest human stories of our region; Lost Spirits rum, up until recently distilled in a dragon-shaped log-and-copper still in a rural front yard in Monterey and now aged in a copper one shaped like a pirate ship; and 7 Leguas tequila, named for Pancho Villa's horse, Siete Leguas.
The cocktail of the month for September--refreshing and tropical, to suit the start of the true Bay Area summer--is built on layered rums of storied international provenance. But the drink itself has a far humbler inspiration. "James [Syhabout] wanted a drink with Tang in it," says Aivaliotis. They tried a bunch but none worked, so they settled on a grown-up version of everyone's favorite mall sipper, the Orange Julius.
* Pronounced "Chris" with a "t" on the end--don't go looking for Jesus in a bar, folks.
1 1/2 ounces El Dorado 3-year-old Rum
1/2 ounce Pampero Aniversario Rum
1/4 ounce lemon juice
1 1/4 ounces orange juice
1/2 ounce egg whiteÊ(about one eggÕs worth)
1/4 ounce vanilla syrup (They make their own, but vanilla simple syrup will work fine.)
Dry-shake all ingredients with no ice, then add ice and shake for an additional eight to seconds. Strain into your favorite zombie glass and add crushed ice. Top with a slice of orange; drink through a straw.