Visit Temecula Valley
Special to Valley News
The rolling hills and numerous vineyards of the Temecula Valley are famous for good reason: the region boasts dozens of sprawling vineyards, small-batch artisan wines, varietals for almost every palate and unique encounters with winemakers. But even if you aren’t a wine connoisseur, the Temecula Valley features another fun way to get your drink on. Take advantage of the region’s hip, up-and-coming bar scene with craft cocktails made by master beverage mixologists, who have mixed, muddled, tested and creatively designed cocktails made with local ingredients, specialty liqueurs and surprising flavor combinations.
Visit Old Town Temecula’s newest gastropub, 1909, where the hipster-loving industrial vibe is matched by its hand-crafted concoctions including the 1909 Cedar Smoked Old Fashioned, dubbed by many loving fans as the “Smoky Cedar.” The beverage is crafted with Woodford Reserve Bourbon, housemade raw sugar syrup, angostura bitters and orange zest, served in a cedar-smoked glass. Other popular cocktails served on-site include Fame and Fortune, with Loft and Bear Vodka, Aperol, strawberries, pineapple-basil syrup, lemon juice and plum bitters or the Macs Mule, made with Russian Standard Vodka, raspberries, local honey, lime juice and ginger beer.
Nestled along the scenic Rancho California ridgeline, Avensole Winery’s sprawling vineyard estate has been producing some of Temecula’s finest grapes for more than four decades. Their Marketplace Restaurant features not only fantastic wine and views, but also unique craft cocktails served up by Bryan Staley, the mastermind mixologist behind the cocktail menu. All cocktails served on-site include only freshly squeezed juices, locally-sourced fruits, housemade syrups and hard-to-find, small-batch artisanal alcohols, such as Re:Find handcrafted distillery spirits from Paso Robles. Cocktails change seasonally, and many utilize Avensole wine, including the Avensole Sunset, made with Avensole Merlot, rye whiskey, lemon juice and simple syrup.
Annata Bistro and Bar at Mount Palomar Winery is one of the few full-service bars in Temecula wine country. With floor to ceiling windows of the rolling hills of wine country, patrons can dine on specialty culinary creations while imbibing in one of the bistro’s signature cocktails including My Lover, made with pineapple juice, cranberry juice, housemade fresh orange juice, prickly pear syrup, Malibu coconut rum, Aylesbury Duck vodka and ginger beer or the Spice of Life, with Aylesbury Duck Vodka, agave, fresh jalapeno, a fresh cucumber slice, fresh cilantro, housemade sweet and sour and fresh housemade orange juice. Don’t miss Annata’s Thirsty Thursdays, featuring 2-for-1 cocktails or their weekend tequila tastings, boasting gold medal, top shelf tequilas.
Heart of the House, centrally located between Old Town and wine country, features a fantastic assortment of craft cocktails, perfect for an afternoon shopping pick-me-up or the start to a romantic evening. The Spiked Herbal Citrus Punch combines fresh basil, rosemary and mint with housemade simple syrup, soju and freshly squeezed grapefruit, orange and lime juices for an herby cocktail that hits all the best notes.
Temecula Creek Inn’s Cork and Fire Kitchen boasts another mouth-watering cocktail menu that utilizes local ingredients, including herbs grown on-site, and an especially fabulous selection of whiskey, including Hudson Bourbon, Buffalo Trace Bourbon, Templeton Rye and Famous Grouse Scotch. Six liquor-aging barrels are also in-house to provide some of the most local cocktail concoctions in the region. Unique specialty cocktails include the Bearded Chicken Drunken Pig, with Bulleit bourbon, maple sage syrup, bacon and egg white froth and the Pickled Piper Martini, with Ketel One vodka, garden pickling brine and house-pickled garden veggies.
Pechanga Resort & Casino’s three fine-dining restaurants have also joined in the craft cocktail scene, featuring eight handcrafted beverages sure to tempt guests. These eight handcrafted cocktails include the Blue Velvet with fresh mint, blueberries and elderflower liqueur; the Blackberry Mojito; the Garden Mule with blueberries, cucumber and mint; Chimera Martini with blueberries and an edible orchid; the Cucumber & Cilantro; the Lemoncello Martini; the Lynchburg Lemonade with local citrus and the Spicy Mango Margarita with mango puree and jalapeno.
With natural gifts of climate and geography Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country is recognized for scenic vineyards, award-winning wines and more than 40 wineries. The popular boutique destination includes the Temecula Valley American Viticulture Area, as well as historic downtown Old Town Temecula, Pechanga Resort & Casino and Temecula Wine Country Golf Trail.
Visit Temecula Valley is the region’s official tourism marketing organization and an online resource for visitors at VisitTemeculaValley.com. Temecula Valley Visitors Center is located in Old Town Temecula at the intersection of Third Street and Mercedes Street. For visitor information and assistance, call (888) 363-2852 or (951) 491-6085.