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Wine Country Has An Unofficial Cocktail AVA

Here's to Healdsburg. 

Duke's Spirited Cocktials in Healdsburg. 


Read more about the future of cocktails.

Some of the very best drinking in wine country can be found not inside a by-appointment tasting room in a hillside vineyard, but in an unpretentious Healdsburg cocktail bar across from the town plaza.

The beverage program at Duke’s Spirited Cocktails is ambitious and masterful, with colorful, flower-garnished seasonal cocktails that contain anything from beets to shiitake mushrooms, the latter recently found in a Pimm’s Cup along with yuzu and shiso-flavored brandy ($9). The delight is in the details: exquisite ice, perfectly carbonated house root beer and tonic water, and even seltzer made in-house from dechlorinated and custom-remineralized water.

Nearby Spoonbar features a large but carefully chosen selection of spirits, many of them locally made, along with cocktails touched with culinary accents like jalapeño tincture, macadamia cordial, and toasted-sesame syrup. A recent drink in the “experimental” section of the menu contained gin, aloe liqueur, and green-strawberry shrub with a limoncello-and-dill foam ($11). It was spectacular.

A 10-minute drive up 101 will take you to the charming Geyserville Gun Club, a faux-rustic bar with a short menu of original cocktails, an unexpected sake and shochu emphasis, octopus-heavy artwork, and an Instagram-optimized pink bathroom.

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Originally published in the February issue of San Francisco 

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