I had the good fortune to spend a couple of hours with Mixologist Alberto Battaglini at S.Y.Kitchen in Santa Ynez, California. Santa Ynez is a one-horse town that sits amidst the rolling hills of the Santa Ynez Valley. These days (Fall 2015) the Valley has turned a golden yellow color from years of drought. The oak trees sit isolated, with vast acres of dry grass spreading as far as the eye can see. It’s still beautiful, but in a barren, West Texas sort of way. It’s not the lush, irrigated Valley I remember from my childhood. The town of Santa Ynez is charming, with a number of small shops and restaurants. It’s quieter and more authentic than its close neighbor towns of Solvang and Los Olivos. If you’re headed into the Valley to go wine tasting or exploring, I highly recommend a stop at S.Y.Kitchen. It’s a gem, and its mixologist Alberto Battaglini is one of the best bartenders I’ve ever encountered. He’s creative, charming, and focused on seasonal ingredients and small batch spirits. His Pineapple & Arugula Daiquiri is one of my favorites. Alberto is a big fan of Real McCoy Rum, as am I. This drink uses Real McCoy 3 Year Aged Rum.
Pineapple & Arugula Daiquiri (makes one drink)
- One small handful of wild arugula
- 2 oz pureed fresh pineapple (no sugar added)
- 2 oz Real McCoy 3 year Aged Rum (a white rum)
- 1 oz freshly squeezed lime juice
- ½ oz simple syrup (recipe below)
- ½ oz Ancho Reyes Ancho Chile Liquor
Mixologist Alberto Battaglini uses a light simple syrup. He uses one cup of sugar mixed with one cup of hot water. He stirs the sugar until it dissolves and then chills the syrup for later use.
Lightly muddle the arugula in a drink shaker. Add chopped ice and the remaining ingredients. Shake very hard. Pour through a fine mesh strainer. Serve.