8 Ways to Slow Down and Enjoy the Cocktail Season

Dopo’s Garibaldi

Some of us can be overwhelmed with the seemingly endless flow of booze that accompanies the holiday season. But remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Here are some of Oakland’s best low- (and not-so-low) ABV cocktails to slow down with.

Try a naturally low-octane highball like the Ramen Shop’s smoky Shop Highball made with St. George Baller Whiskey, club soda, and lemon oil (5812 College Ave). Or Umami Mart’s tangy Doburoku Sour, composed of low-ABV sake and seltzer (4027 Broadway, Oakland). Or the savory Rebujito from Here’s How, which marries manzanilla sherry with mint and lemon-lime soda (1780 Telegraph Ave).

Go big or go home with North Light’s funky Coconut Negroni, which swaps rum for gin (4915 Telegraph Ave). Or cozy up with one of Cafe Encina’s vermouth spritzes, like the bittersweet Atxa Rojo (308 41st St).

Stave off the winter blues with a frothy Dear Irene from The Cat House, a blend of gin, lime, coconut, ginger, cane, and mint (3255 Lakeshore Ave). Or transport to sunny Sicily with Dopo’s fluffy Garibaldi, featuring red bitters topped with aerated orange juice (4293 Piedmont Ave).

Finally, to kick off the festivities, enjoy a classic gin martini with the folks at a newcomer bar, Friends and Family (468 25th St), slated to open Thanksgiving week.


—Story and photo by Meredith Pakier,
an Oakland-based professional wine nerd