Thursday, October 8, 2015

Thirsty Thursday: Cocktails and Happy Hour at California Pizza Kitchen

When you think of California Pizza Kitchen fancy/craft cocktails aren't on the mind, only delicious and innovative pizzas.  I recently had a chance to sit down with the SVP of culinary development/head chef Brian Sullivan to try some of the fall items (review coming soon) as well as the cocktails and I couldn't have been more impressed. Every drink that I tried was exciting and never left that sugary gross feeling that you often get from cocktails. I was especially pleased to learn that their cocktails that involve fruit all have FRESH fruit puree - nothing bottled/jarred, which is really apparent when you drink them. 

California Pizza Kitchen Happy Hour
"Let's Get Happy"
Monday-Thursday at the bar 3pm-6pm & 8:30-close
$4 Draft Beer - Sam Adams & Blue Moon
$4 Bottles Beer - Stella, Corona Extra, New Castle
$5 Wines by the glass (3 whites & 3 reds)
$5 Premium Well Drinks
$6 Fresh Agave Lime Margarita
$6 Hand Shaken Agave Mojito

I'm going to start with my favorite (and Brian's fav too!), the California Roots svedka vodka, fresh avocado and mint, fresh agave sour, fennel salt rim. This drink is an original CPK creation and one of a kind until someone knocks it off. At first I was hesitant of a drink made with avocado but I was pleasantly surprised. Normally I am not a huge fan of licorice flavor (fennel seed) but it paired nicely. It was creamy, light and fresh. 
CPK offers a seasonal sangria, and luckily as it was only a week or so away from fall when I did the tasting, I got to try the summer and fall sangria's. Fall's Sangria is a Blood Orange Sangria, using fresh blood orange puree. This was fresh and not overly sweet which I find that some white sangria's can be - another one of my favorites. The summer sangria, Seasonal Harvest was also quite tasty - I liked the addition of grapes! 
Blueberry Ginger Smash Jack Daniels Whiskey, agave nectar, domaine de canton ginger, fresh blueberries and lime, cranberry juice. You can't go wrong with whiskey, and I like the fruity change from what I normally mix it with - coke or ginger-ale.  
The Executive Decision tequila blanco, muddled mint, agave sour, agave nectar, lime - created by the CEO of CPK, and what I think to refer to as a minty margarita. This drink is refreshing and light. 
This baby will knock you off your feet if you are not careful, The California Crush boasts Absolut Mandrin, Absolut Citron, muddled mint with fresh orange and lemon. Mostly vodka, this drink is delightfully fresh and citrus - the citrus masks the taste of vodka. I could see myself going though more then a few of these and getting into trouble. 
The Coconut Blossom Mandarin Blossom Vodka Casamigos Tequila Blanco, agave sour, pureed coconut, fresh pineapple is a pleasant spin on a pina colada ...switching it up a little with the addition of tequila and vodka. A drink that transports you to a tropical island that won't kill you with the sugar. 
Basically, next time you are in the mood for drinks...and I mean more then your typical jack and coke (which they have if that is what your heart desires), you only need to head to California Pizza Kitchen - no more traveling to some fancy pants place in DC. Plus - you can get some great noms to have with your cocktails aka delicious pizza! 

1201 South Hayes Street
Suite F
Arlington, VA
California Pizza Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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