Those who’d write off a pink-ish drink with a Barbie doll boot hung from its rim will be missing out. For Finch & Fork has landed George Piperis behind its bar, and his time in hip Los Angeles spots like The Fiscal Agent and Otium — plus his lauded albeit short recent stint at the ill-fated Somerset here in Santa Barbara — couldn’t have prepared him better for the challenge of a hotel bar that wants to find the sweet spot between comfort and creativity.
For instance, the “barb” in the Bath Bomb comes from rhubarb, a spry tartness that coaxes notes of flavor from the Hangar 1 vodka. Even better, the foam atop, billed “tarragon and grapefruit air,” has a lovely sudsy consistency — Piperis likes to play with malic acid and phosphates for taste and texture fun — plus packs in the herb and fruit notes. Even better, the tall glass sort of glows, with its stack of ice cubes forming a swirling spine.
If that still seems too much for some, one can try any of the other drinks on the seasonal menu, perhaps something more traditional like a luscious Boulevardier variation called the San Ysidro (Old Grandad bourbon, Amaro Sibona, Byrrh) or an In the Pines, muscled by mescal, but rich and deep with sadly obscure pine liquor Zirbenz, Cardamaro (cardoon-based amaro), and Cocchi di Torino.