Whether you’re a novice cocktail drinker or a cocktail connoisseur, Gilroy has delicious options for cocktails.
A Brief History of Cocktails
A traditional cocktail, according to the first printed definition in 1806, included a spirit, sugar, water, and bitters. Today what we call a cocktail is a drink that is typically made up of a base spirit (such as vodka, gin, tequila, rum, whiskey, or brandy) with a modifier added to it (such as juice, champagne, vermouth, or cream), along with whatever else the creator chooses.
Centuries ago, mixed drinks were used by apothecaries for medicinal (and not-so-medicinal!) purposes. By the 17th and 18th centuries, drinks such as slings, fizzes, toddies, and juleps were created.
The first known book of cocktail recipes was published in the U.S. in 1862, and from the 1860s to Prohibition cocktails reigned in an era referred to as “The Golden Age of Cocktails.” After Prohibition, cocktails made a steady comeback, and today the myriad of unique cocktails is only limited to the creativity of the mixologist.
“Cocktail”—What’s in a Name?
Nobody knows for sure where the name “cocktail” came from. Some think it was inspired by a rooster (“cock”) tail that may have been used as a garnish. It may have come from “cock-tailings,” which were leftovers from an ale cask that were mixed with various spirits and sold as a cheap drink or ale mashed with food scraps and fed to fighting cocks. Others think the origin is from the Aztec goddess “Xochitl” (pronounced SHO-cheetl), which was also the name of a Mexican princess who served drinks to American soldiers. There are even horse-related meanings for “cock-tail,” such as the name for a mixed breed horse or the name for a horse’s tail raised in the air like a cock’s tail. You can decide which meaning you think seems the most likely for the word “cocktail.”
Where to Find the Best Cocktails in Gilroy
Of course, the most important thing about a cocktail is to enjoy one! Here is your guide to the best places to find cocktails in Gilroy:
6966 Chestnut St.
El Michoacano is a great place for some incredible cocktails, including Daquiris, Micheladas, Smoothies, Margaritas, Chabelas, and more. This restaurant is also a great place to get your seafood fix. If you aren’t a seafood lover, there are delicious burritos and enchiladas on the menu as well. El Michoacano has a wide variety of beers and delicious Micheladas.
Two of El Michoacano’s most outstanding cocktails are:
Jefe de Jefe Margarita
The Milias Restaurant
7397 Monterey St.
The Milias is an anchor in Gilroy’s historic downtown district, featuring a unique cowboy-motif horseshoe-shaped bar and an adjoining spacious dining room that has served generations of Gilroyans for years. Surrounded by the aura and tradition of one of Gilroy’s oldest and most respected dining establishments, food lovers of today will be charmed by the presentation of fine cuisine and professional service at this old but new Gilroy landmark.
At The Milias Restaurant, their talented bartender James will make cocktails to order. He uses fresh ingredients along with various house made syrups & tinctures. Two unique cocktails he makes are:
Tropical Cosmo: Malibu Rum, peach Schnapps, lime, pineapple, and cranberry juice
James’ Manhattan: Bulleit Bourbon, Sweet Vermouth, and James’ secret bitters combo
Tempo Kitchen & Bar
7560 Monterey Rd.
Tempo Kitchen & Bar offers Modern American Cuisine with an elevated flair. They are conveniently located in downtown Gilroy. They have handcrafted cocktails with musically-themed names. Cool your palette with “Smoke on the Water,” “Purple Haze,” or “Wake Me Up Before You Go Go.” There are many more fun and delicious choices on the menu.
Take a look at two fantastic options:
Cool as a Cucumber: vodka, lime juice, simple syrup, soda water, and muddled cucumber and mint
Cool as a Cucumber
Paint it Black: Wild Turkey Bourbon, blackberry syrup, lemonade, garnished with a Luxardo cherry
Paint it Black
8080 Santa Teresa Blvd. Suite 100
The Westside Grill is a family-owned neighborhood restaurant with a menu of favorites, an ever-changing list of daily specials, a full bar, and a friendly staff. It’s just right, whether you’re looking for a delicious dinner, a late-night drink with friends, or a weekend breakfast. They have top-notch cocktails, such as Lavender Fields, Strawbery Fizz, Peach Basil Mule, the Malibu Mermaid, and more.
Try one these amazing cocktails:
Chili Verde Margarita: Hornitos tequila, Ancho Reyes liquor, agave, lime juice, muddle jalapeno, tajin rim.
Chili Verde Margarita
Royal Mai Tai: Blend of light rum, dark rum, orgeat syrup, passion, orange and guava juices
Royal Mai Tai
While you’re visiting Gilroy, be sure to try one of these cool cocktails—or maybe two! You can also check out our list of 33 Things to Do In and Around Gilroy or stop by our California Welcome Center Gilroy in the Gilroy Premium Outlets where our friendly staff can help you find more fun things to do and you can pick up some unique souvenirs. With so many things to do and so many great cocktails to try, you’ll need to book an overnight stay for your trip to Gilroy!