Drink of the Week: Sorensen’s Café’s Knotty Pine

In our Drink of the Week segment, we’ll showcase one unique type of beer, wine, cocktail — you name it — to try at one of the countless breweries, bars and restaurants from around the basin.

With the fall color season winding down, there is still a little time for a road trip to catch the last gasp of the leaves as they fade away and bid their trees adieu. One of the best places to catch this is Hope Valley, although all it takes is one day of strong winds and by the time you read this, who knows what hues still might be kicking around. Regardless, you should still be able to catch some colors and if not, well, there’s a perfect place to drown your sorrows and this week’s feature is a good place to start.

This cocktail starts in the shaker. Empress gin, lime, blueberry simple syrup, and fresh mint pulled right from their garden are shaken over ice. It’s poured into the glass, topped with soda water and garnished with fresh blueberries and a few mint leaves.

Sorensen’s Café’s Knotty Pine
Rob Galloway / Tahoe Daily Tribune

For starters, you have to notice the color. The blueberry syrup mixed with the cobalt blue-colored gin give off a radiant purple and if ever there were a color that smelled like it looked, this might take the cake. Rather than those old scratch and sniff stickers, this is more a sniff and swig type of action.

The berry flavor hits you on the front end and the hints of citrus in the gin mixed with the lime, adds a nice tangy balance. As with most gin-forward drinks, there is an earthiness that helps to ground the drink – and this one is no different, although the touch of mint really helps to close out the sip with a smooth and clean finish. Add in the spritz-y pizazz from the soda water and you have a fun and fresh way to close out the season.

While this drink might remind you more of the remnants of summer than a precursor to winter, take it while you can, because if we’re in for another winter similar to last year you’ll be clamoring for one of these around January or so. Bottoms up!

Sorensen’s Cafe is located at 14255 CA HWY 88 at the Desolation Hotel in Hope Valley. For more information visit them online at or reach them via phone at 530-694-2203.

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