6 Incredible Whiskey-Based Drinks in Monterey Bay

Summer is here once again, which means it’s time to kick back, relax, and enjoy the salted air of the Monterey Bay! There are plenty of places to eat, and being in wine country also provides a plethora of options in that department, but what about specialty drinks in the area?

We love wine, but we also love whiskey, and if you do, too, we’re certain you won’t be disappointed by any of these drinks!

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Rio Rye

Rio Grill

Rio Grill is located in the Crossroads in Carmel, and is a great place to stop in, grab a drink, and eat some good food. (The food you’ll have to discover for yourself… We’re all about the whiskey right now!)

When you’re here, why not try out their specialty Rio Rye? The drink itself is made of High West Double Rye, Carpana Antica Sweet Vermouth, St. Germain, aromatic bitters, and luxardo cherries.

What makes this drink so special?

All of the ingredients (except for the cherries) are mixed together, then soaked in an oak barrel for a month, which accounts for bolder, smokier flavors that stand out.

(Photo courtesy of Rio Grill.)

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Lavender Heights

Salt Wood Kitchen and Oysterette

Located in the Sanctuary Beach Resort out in Marina, Salt Wood Kitchen and Oysterette mixes the flavors of the ocean salt with wood-grilled food and plenty of specialty drinks to choose from.

Here, we’re partial to the Lavender Heights, which is made up of Bulleit Bourbon, Lavender Simple Syrup, and Lime Juice.

Each of the bartenders have a drink that they’ve created, as well, so be sure to ask whomever is behind the counter which creation they can claim as their own.

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Blackberry Bourbon Smash

Aabha’s Indian Grill

Aabha’s Indian Grill is one of the favorite stops from our Old Monterey Tour, but there’s much more to be found here than killer samosas and to-die-for tikka masala.

Bourbon drinkers should get a kick out of the Blackberry Bourbon Smash. With Maker’s Mark, blackerry, lemon, mint, and FeverTree Ginger Beer, this is a sweeter drink than some of the others, but the ginger beer also adds an additional feel of a makeshift Kentucky Mule.

We wouldn’t judge you if you stepped aside during the tour to order one of these for yourself.

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The Billionaire

Hula’s Island Grill

Anyone who enters this Hawaiian-themed restaurant is bound to fall in love, but have you checked out the little room next door?

The speak tiki at Hula’s Island Grill is a place where you can order not only the normal drinks from the restaurant, but also from a specialty cocktail menu with over 20 drinks to choose from. During the off season, this room is only open on the weekends, but now that summer is upon us, you can enjoy it from Tuesday-Saturday.

Want to feel like a billionaire? Well, a drink mixed with IW Harper Bourbon, dried lemon, and Absinthe might help you do the trick.

Additionally, each day offers a different special, so no day is a bad one to try it out.

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Maritime Manhattan

Schooners Coastal Kitchen and Bar

If you’re looking for a drink with a spectacular view to go with it, Schooners Coastal Bar and Kitchen is the place to go. Located in the Monterey Plaza Hotel, Schooner’s is great for lunch or dinner, and their patio makes for the perfect place to have some oceanside drinks.

While you’re here, give their Maritime Manhattan a go while you gaze out at the ocean waves. Mixed with Buffalo Trace Bourbon, Red Grapefruit, and Rosemary Smoked Sweet Vermouth, this is their twist on the traditional Manhattan.

If you ask us, it’s worth it just for the rosemary smoked vermouth.

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Monterey Fizz

Lalla’s Oceanside Grill

Lalla’s has three different locations — Lalla Grill in the Del Monte Center, Lallapalooza on Alvarado Street, and Lalla’s Oceanside Grill.

The Oceanside location, like Schooners, also has sweeping views of the bay, but if you’re at any location, we recommend trying out the Monterey Fizz.

Comprised of Whistling Pig Rye, Elderflower liqueur, egg whites, and fresh lime, the only caution we have about this drink is how easy it goes down. One just never seems to be quite enough.

Have you tried any of these drinks? Where’s your go-to spot for cocktails? Let us know in the comments!