Trick-or-treating may be for kids, but grown-ups can sample some real spirits at Napa East this Halloween.
“We tend to do things that are really unpretentious, and things that are just pure fun,” Napa East general manager and certified sommelier Chris Riendeau said. “I got to thinking Halloween spirits, it made sense where we would do a spirit tasting. ... This will be our second year.”
The festive event will be on the eve of All Hallow’s Eve, on Wednesday, Oct. 30, starting at 7 p.m. Sixteen spirits will be available for sampling, including a few beers.
Riendeau said the spirits tasting will be relaxed, and guests at the bar and dining area have the flexibility to get up and visit the tasting table and sample a few spirits.
“It’s a chance to try some things they’ve seen in the store or something they’ve never seen,” Riendeau said. “I’ll probably do a Halloween-inspired wine flight. … We did absinthe last year, that’s something kind of funky. People know the lore of absinthe, and that it was banned.”
A sparkling wine and absinthe cocktail was prepared for the tasting last year, and Riendeau said that it would not be surprising to see something similar again this year.
Some of the spirits that will be available for tasting include Sailor Jerry Rum from Martignetti, a rum “punsch,” Kronan and Uncle Val’s gin from Baystate Wine & Spirits and Highlander Honey from Horizon. Jim Beam Devil’s Cut bourbon whiskey and Double Cross vodka will also be offered as samples.
In addition to the tasting, special cocktails that incorporate the spirits will be available, along with Napa East’s brand new fall menu. The fall menu includes cider braised pork shanks, served with a cherry chutney and cinnamon sour cream, grilled sea scallops in a pomegranate reduction and shrimp and scallops Fra Diavolo (made with roasted peppers, onions and garlic simmered in a spicy tomato sauce
“Obviously, you put ‘spirits’ in quotes, but it’s one of those things we always do with our tastings,” Riendeau said. “People feel comfortable getting up from the bar and going over and tasting and getting up from their table.”
Costumes are optional, but a prize will be awarded for the best one. There is always live entertainment on Wednesday nights at Napa East, and during the tasting, Dan Skye will be performing. Skye came in second on the MTV competition show Making the Band.
“He covers everything from Sinatra to Michael Buble to current hits,” Riendeau said. “That lends to [the event], and we have games and prizes.”
Although the tasting is complimentary, guests should make reservations for dining that night to participate and guarantee a seat. Bar seating is first come, first served.
“I think it was just a great sense of community [last year]. You saw a lot of people that came out, and it kind of had an air of being upscale even though everyone was dressed in costume,” Riendeau said.