My Traveling Tales by Linda
I am in love with a tiny and rustic beach town which lies on the rugged and rocky Northern Coast of California. Fort Bragg lies a few miles north of the better-known town of Mendocino, and over the course of my years of living in Northern California, I have come to prefer spending time in Fort Bragg rather than staying in its touristy cousin, Mendocino. When in Fort Bragg, I like to stay at a small motel which is situated on the rocky and wild headlands, where I prop open the door to my room and drench my stressed out work-self in the sound of the pounding surf and the cries of the gulls and pelicans.
Fort Bragg was home to the Pomo Indian tribe before there was a reservation established in the area and a military outpost built in the mid-1800s. In more modern times Fort Bragg became a logging town and also supports a commercial fishing industry. It has remained small, and is not as popular as a tourist destination because it lacks the amenities that one can find in the town of Mendocino. For this reason it has become a favorite spot for me to relax, comb the beaches for sea glass and to be tempted at every turn with amazing opportunities to take photos.
Another activity that I enjoy is wine tasting, and the drive through the Anderson Valley on the way to Fort Bragg presents opportunities to stop at world-class wineries. Navarro Vineyard has become a de rigueur destination on my trip up North and over to the coast.
Navarro's sheep munch the weeds in their vineyard rows, eliminating the need for herbicides.
|Navarro Vineyards displays just a few of the many medals and ribbons|
that they have won at competitions in their tasting room
Aside from the gorgeous panoramic views that Navarro Vineyards offers of the breathtaking Anderson Valley, there are many varietals of outstanding wines to be sipped, and since their wines are really only offered at the winery, it makes the stop an imperative for me. In addition to the wines, Navarro bottles a couple varieties of grape juice. Christopher, one of the tasting room staff suggested to me that the juice makes a great addition to spirits... which got me to thinking. If you read Salvation Sisters regularly, you already know that I am the sister with the "bar car", and several of my posts feature cocktails that I have either recreated from our travels, or dreamed up for entertaining such as our Layered Cosmos, Blood Orange Cosmo, Margaritas , Pineapple Martinis, Fragalino Martinis and Strawberry Lemon Drop.
Most likely you will need to have Navarro ship you their grape juice, but they frequently have one cent shipping specials, and you really can't go wrong with any of the wine that you choose. I have come to refer to their Alsatian blend called Edelzwicker, as "my house white wine". I buy it by the case along with my favorite red, their outstanding Pinot Noir. Have them throw in a few bottles of Pinot Noir Grape Juice with your order so you, too, can make this delicious cocktail at home.
The Fort Bragg Blossom Cocktail
I like to begin with a crystal double old fashioned bar glass at home. My glasses will hold 12 ounces. However, when I invented this cocktail at the beach, I used the wine glasses that were available in the room. The recipe makes one large cocktail.
The flavor of the cocktail reminds me a little of an adult version of Delaware punch that I loved when I was a child. Since I haven't had Delaware punch since I was about 10, I can't really say my memory holds true, but since the main fruit juice in Delaware punch is grape, named after the Delaware grape cultivar, it stands to reason.
5 smallish ice cubes
2-3 ounces of Hangar One "Mandarin Blossom" Vodka
6 ounces of Navarro Vineyards Pinot Noir Grape Juice
Splash of Sparkling Mineral Water
1. Pour the vodka over the ice. Add the Pinot Noir grape juice. Pour in a splash of sparkling mineral water, stir and enjoy!