The Owner at San Rafael’s California Gold Shares His Favorite Beat-the-Heat Cocktail

Isaac Shumway at California Gold (courtesy of California Gold)

San Rafael got a real San Francisco–style cocktail bar late last year, when bartender Isaac Shumway and his wife, wine buyer Rhia Shumway, opened California Gold in San Rafael. Shumway has learned from some of the best in the business in San Francisco and was also the former bar director at Tosca Cafe and Bear Vs. Bull (the bar inside the Mission’s Alamo Drafthouse) before making the jump to Marin. He says when the very successful California Gold is finally able to reopen, it might be under a slightly different seating concept, but until then patrons can stop by for a to-go cocktail kit. When it comes to an outdoor gathering, although he’s more apt to go for a light beer in such situations, he can’t think of a better crowd-pleasing cocktail than the Trouble in Paradise — a refreshing summer cocktail with basil and pepper that compliments any barbecue with its complexity and taste.

Trouble in Paradise


1 very fine grind of fresh Tellecherry Black Pepper

1 ounce Wild Turkey 101 bourbon (or any good high-proof bourbon)

1 ounce Campari

3/4 ounce lemon juice (hand-pressed)

3/4 ounce grapefruit juice (hand-pressed)

1/2 ounces honey syrup (2 parts honey/1 part hot water)

Basil leaf

To Make

Grind the pepper into a cocktail shaker tin. Add bourbon next, to help dissolve the black pepper. Add the rest of the ingredients. Add ice and shake hard until ice cold. Double strain over fresh ice in a double old fashioned glass (double strain means you use a Hawthorne strainer and a small sieve). Garnish with a basil leaf and enjoy.