Best Thing We Ate

New Cocktail Menu at Ramen Shop in Oakland

By Virginia Miller  |  August 25, 2014
Credit: Virginia Miller

Illustrator and Ramen Shop bar manager Chris Lane is one of our favorite bartenders — and he's got a new cocktail menu. He used to work behind the bar at Flora, Heaven's Dog, Wo Hing, Tradition and was the bar manager of Lolinda - you'll also find him consulting on the cocktails for Citizen Fox, opening in SF this fall. Look for his artwork on the Ramen Shop drink menu and his artistry in drinks with a decidedly Japanese influence not in small part due to the modern ramen focus of the restaurant (we can't wait for their upcoming next door bar, which Lane will run). Lane's Highball section, that ever popular mix of whisky and soda in Japan, runs the gamut from Calvados Highballs to a Shop Highball using local St. George's "Baller" Whiskey, a special, beautifully smoky barrel chosen especially by Lane with the St. George crew for Ramen Shop.


Big Medicine cocktail [Photo Source: Virginia Miller]

We tasted through all the cocktails ($10-12) on Lane's new menu at Ramen Shop and there's plenty to love. Here are a few to try (though you won't go wrong with the lot):
- Old Golden (pictured above): Mezcal lovers will be crazy about crushed sage muddled with the smoky agave spirit, lemon, honey and ginger in this smoky refresher that calls for Mexican food but also shines with hearty bowls of ramen.
- Double Barrel Fizz: Our favorite may just be this cherry gastrique and rye whiskey fizz. Just enough cherry vinegar and lemon bite with cinnamon and rye spice is rounded out with Rodenbach Grand Cru beer. Yes.
- Grass Cutter: St. George is also making a wonderfully robust (80 proof — unusual for this spirit) Shochu. Lane mixes it with St. George's Terroir Gin, lemon, ginger, vanilla, orgeat (almond syrup), pineapple and matcha green tea for a crazy Tiki-meets-Japan mash-up that tastes as green and fresh as its name would suggest.
- Broken Flower: Tequila lovers, take note — ditto for amaro/bitter fans. Reposado tequila meets Cynar (Italian bitter artichoke liqueur), lime, grapefruit, cinnamon and Angostura bitters for a drink as tart and bitter as it is lively and rounded.
- Big Medicine: It's house orange marmalade that makes this long, tall refresher sing. Tonic imparts a bright kick to blanco tequila, lemon and bergamot, accented by candied orange marmalade strips.

5812 College Ave.; 510-788-6370


Broken Flower cocktail [Photo Source: Virginia Miller]