The 6th Annual Midtown Cocktail Week has started. Unless you've been living under a rock in Sacramento, you're probably familiar with the event. This year though the Midtown Business Association and the local bars and restaurants are going big with several days of tastings, events, classes and merriment. The festivities started off today with a Educational Vendor Expo at the Citizen Hotel. I tagged along with two of my favorite people from Berryessa Brewing, Clint and Jenni, to sneak a peek (and a few tastes) of some lovely libations. We taste tested some tequila from Don Julio, bourbon from Buffalo Trace and Kahlua Midnight (a rum and black coffee mix) amongst several other spirits. Hey, no judging...sometimes I girl needs to get her drink 1pm...on a weekday....

Out of all the vendors, my favorite liqueur ended up being from a company I had never heard of before- Pavan. The gorgeous art nouveau bottles initially drew me to the table, but the drink itself proved to be superb. We tried it straight and then in a simple cocktail. Pavan (18% ABV, distributed by Suntory) has an intoxicating floral scent and tastes like a wonderful mixture of sweet fruit and delicate flora. According to the rep, Pavan is crafted from a base of white muscat grapes from the south of France and a subtle touch of orange blossom. You can drink it straight, on the rocks as an aperitif or use it in your favorite cocktails. The rep suggested mixing it with sparkling wine, using it to make sangria ( just add some Perrier and fruit) or just mixing it with some vodka. Currently in Sacramento, you can only buy it online through K and L, but according to the rep some of the local bars like Shady Lady will soon be offering cocktails made with Pavan. Can't wait!

My second favorite, was the Kahlua Midnight (35% ABV). Being a coffee-junkie, I was excited to check this one out. Although it smelled a bit like acetone as I was raising it to my lips, the Kahlua Midnight tasted great. It had a deep, robust dark roast flavor with a smooth rum undertone...and a hint of something...maybe almonds(?) in the aftertaste. The Midnight is much darker and less sweet than the original Kahlua, which appeals to me. It tastes a bit more polished. I could definitely see turning to this liqueur in the winter months, maybe mixed with some Peppermint Schnapps (or Irish whiskey) and my favorite coffee.

To cleanse our palates, we stopped by the only table offering a non-alcoholic drink. The folks at Tea of a Kind were offering tastes of their Citrus Mint Green Tea, Pomegranate Acai White Tea and their Peach Ginger Black Tea. Jenni and I tried the pomegranate tea and I really liked it. It was light, natural and best of all only 20 calories a bottle. Also, their patented nitrogen bottle cap keeps the drink fresh so that they don't have to add any chemical preservatives. You just twist the cap and it infuses the tea. It goes from white to brown before your eyes. It's pretty cool. You can buy Tea of a Kind at Bevo currently but it will also be carried at Raley's grocery stores this fall.

Midtown Cocktail Week :

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