Let Cocktails Be Thy Medicine
The Drawing Board’s apothecary-inspired cocktail bar isn’t afraid to put adaptogens in your hot toddy.
By Bernadette Machard de Gramont
Is it possible to call your happy hour libation a health drink? Maybe, if it comes from The Drawing Board’s apothecary-inspired craft cocktail bar. The downtown Petaluma restaurant’s drink menu is an alluring list of cock tails with ingredients more likely found at a new age health food store than behind a bar.
“Nowadays, drinking is considered a vice, but in the old days, spirits were prescribed,” say owner Rosie Wiggins. “We wanted to make it a little healthier by drawing on that history.”This isn’t surprising, considering the restaurant’s ethos as a dirt-and-earth worshipping eatery focused on whole foods and nourishing ancestral traditions. Since opening a little over a year ago, The Drawing Board has established itself as one of Petaluma’s go-to destinations, particularly for those with special food requirements––a concept based partially on Wiggins’ personal health challenges and subsequent interest in the healing power of food.
Bar director Jenn Moonbrick created the newly revamped drink menu. Moonbrick spent years behind bars in New York City and San Francisco before the search for a less hectic pace brought her to Sonoma County. Still rural in parts, it’s been the perfect place to explore and expand upon a knowledge of herbs handed down from her Korean mother, who learned to seek food and medicine in the wild from her own father.
“I quickly learned about the abundance of wild edibles and medicine in Northern California,” says Moonbrick. She literally hand-picks many of the ingredients for her cocktails: rose hips, hawthorn berries, bay laurel, and calendula, to name a few. She also crafts the tinctures that turn an ordinary cocktail into something more like a tonic.
“We went ancient instead of following modern cocktail culture where everything is fruity,” ex plains Wiggins. “We like to combine a lovingly crafted spirit, something small batch, possibly local, and complement it with herbs and botanicals.” Moonbrick’s creations put the emphasis on locally sourced ingredients like Griffo Distillery gin and Monarch bitters along with more out-of-the-box additions. Think bee pollen, activated charcoal, and Douglas fir tincture. Over the winter, a hot toddy got a boost from adaptogenic herbs thought to reduce stress: Schisandra, astragalus and tulsi. in combination with more traditional ingredients like cognac and lemon.
Just like The Drawing Board’s lunch and dinner menus, the bar showcases seasonal flavors: Persimmons and pomegranates in winter months, and plums and other stone fruits in summer. As the weather warms up, keep an eye out for Moonbrick’s favorite drink, The Albatross––a blend of Pisco, strawberry puree, manzanilla sherry, lemon juice, Amaro Montenegro, tincture of yarrow, and Decanter bitters served on the rocks with a sprig of freshly picked yarrow.
“My intention behind our cocktail menu is to change the way people think about drinking alcohol––nothing ever too sweet––and to balance flavors,” says Moonbrick. “The menu is playful, at the same time that it is serious. I want people to feel enlightened in more than one sense.”
The Drawing Board is located at:
190 Kentucky Street, Petaluma.
Open Tuesday through Sunday (call for hours)