This is about cocktails, but I'll come at it from my usual left field. So here goes.

I happily admit it: I'm a confirmed fuddy-duddy.

My preferred TV viewing is PBS, and on PBS, my preferred program is Masterpiece anything, but particularly British mysteries of the fusty kind.

Here's a gratuitous picture of Jeremy Brett and David Burke:

There's one scenario I get a kick out of that's dependably present in every episode no matter whether the detective has a waxed moustache or a deerstalker: The hysterical housemaid (who found the body) faints. The detective's sidekick calls urgently for a double brandy.

They don't call it aqua vitae for nothing, right?

And in the last few years, spirits have made a huge comeback, to the ridiculous extent that this week a co-worker brought my attention to an article in Men's Health called "The World's 4 Healthiest Cocktails."

Quote from said article, "If you're going for the buzz, you might as well get some benefits right?"

Hmmmm. I always thought the buzz WAS the benefit.

Never mind. The article goes on to give recipes for drinks made with organic vodka and carrot juice (the lutein in carrots can reduce your risk of cancer!) and beet juice sangria (the folate in beets lowers your risk of coronary artery disease!)


On the other hand, last night we stopped by Pago to sample owner Scott Evans and mixologist Mike Ryan's new farm-to-bar cocktails and they were delish. Little Pago has been a big hit since it opened, and recently Scott expanded its capacity with a patio and new cooler and its sourcing with the restaurant's own "farm," a residential-sized lot in Sugar House. "It's too big to be called a garden," says Scott.

And I guess you can call it a farm proportionate in size to the kitchen it supplies.

Last night's garden cocktails, served alongside tastes of the new summer menu, were refreshing with a kick and glamorous in the glass, and no one wasted a second's thought on folates or lutein.

My faves: Pago Silver: (Locally owned) High West Silver, fresh orange, Utah melon, basil. Talk about easy to drink. Avocado Margarita: (Locally owned) Vida Silver Tequila, Amaretto, Grand Marnier, avocado, honey. Yes, I was extremely dubious, but although I could have used it just slightly less sweet, the honey aroma rounded off the cactus taste nicely and the avocado added just a little body. Remember the Zion Curtain: High West Rendezvous Rye, Applejack, Lillet Rouge, Absinthe. A take on the 1930s cocktail called Remember the Maine! , this drink is a tribute to all the new liquors available and concoctions possible post lifting of the Zion Curtain.

We'll all drink to that. P.S. Don't forget: Taste of the Nation on Sunday and Metropolitan Food & Wine Festival Saturday night!