Lake Tahoe Drink of the Week: Pioneer Cocktail Club’s Cal Neva Shuffle
October 1, 2018
One of the largest components of Tahoe's nightlife is the mix of countless breweries, bars and restaurants that offer unique drinks difficult to find outside the basin. In our Drink of the Week segment, we'll showcase one type of beer, wine, cocktail — you name it — to try around the Basin.
If this week's drink were a movie, I might be tempted to call it "Cocktail Road Trip." While, for some, Tahoe City seems like a trek around the Lake, I can tell you the drive will be well worth the trip. The Pioneer Club's Cal Neva Shuffle could easily deliver an ending worthy of sparking sequels.
Before I dive into the drink, it should be noted that the craft cocktail bar and restaurant hand cuts their ice cubes to fit the cocktail glass of choice. That's right. They go full Leatherface on a large block of ice with a chainsaw to break down the block then chip away to come up with the molded mini icebergs.
I did get a very cool "Bill Nye the Science Guy" explanation as to why this is better for the cocktail, but I admit, most of it was over my head — anyways, about that luscious liquid …
The star ingredient of this drink has to be the roasted cocoa nib-infused Tahoe Blue vodka. I imagine the smell of this delightful concoction is what the bar-area would smell like in Willie Wonka's Chocolate Factory — little boozy, little cocoa-y.
Folded in is a Pur Spirits zamaro which adds a little bitterness and floral to the arrangement of flavors. Next come the fresh squeezed lime and pineapple juices, followed by a house-made peach syrup.
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If you thought the party was hopping with those ingredients, it's then topped off with the Goldilocks of tonic water that brings just the right amount of bubbles.
All the fruit play nicely on the playground together and don't push this into sweet territory.
It's definitely a vodka drinker's drink but while the ingredients might say we're still hanging on to summer, the surprisingly earthy taste says it's time to shed those leaves and get ready for winter.
The Pioneer Cocktail Club is located at 521 N. Lake Blvd. in Tahoe City, California. Hours of operation are 3 p.m. – 12:30 a.m., every day and can be found online at http://www.pcctahoe.com or by phone at 530-523-0402.