I had a rollicking good time at the Shady Lady Saloon several nights ago. Lured by the buzz around the saloon’s first-rate cocktails, a friend and I dropped in and bellied up to the bar to sample some of these handcrafted libations. My favorite was the Martinez, which arrived in a delicate, old-fashioned glass. Prepared with gin, sweet vermouth, maraschino liqueur and orange bitters – and garnished with a flouncy swath of orange zest- the lovely cocktail had a marvelous sweet-bitter-citrusy personality. I also relished the ultra-refreshing Bourbon Smash, composed of bourbon, fresh “muddled” mint leaves, simple syrup and lots of ice – the perfect drink for a sweltering Sacramento summer evening.
But the highlight of the evening, despite our excellent cocktails, was the kitchen’s fragrant, beer-steamed mussels, punctuated with chewy bits of chorizo.
1409 R Street, Sacramento, (916) 231-9121; www.shadyladybar.com