This week: The Cherry Pop at downtown Sarasota's Roast
The drink: Russian Standard vodka, black cherry juice, lime juice, soda. Bless them, they don't short pour, so the key here is the quality vodka, which is dressed up for the occasion with just a hint of subtle sweetness and bright tartness.
The bar: Hidden in plain view on a busy downtown corner, Roast's patio (which, in addition to the upstairs section, is where you can get the restaurant's happy hour deals) is a lovely little oasis, with a single entryway looking out across First Street toward Bijou Cafe, but otherwise sheltered by oak, palm and bougainvillea. Obviously popular with opera goers, but everyone should know about it.
Food: The full menu is available, but for cocktail bites, there are several small plates and appetizer options, from sliders to charcuterie. Looking around at what other tables ordered, it's almost as though the duck fat fries are a required order--and for good reason.
Other notable potables: The cocktail menu presents a solid variety, including handcrafted versions of the dirty martini, old fashioned, dark and stormy, gimlet, mai tai, etc.