Irvine’s YNK bar is sort of like the holodeck on the U.S.S. Enterprise. One visit, you’re sitting in Barcelona Spain, sipping a tall-stemmed gin tonic with more herbs than a botanist’s greenhouse. The next, you may find yourself in Latin America, sitting in a quiet corner cafe, paloma in hand, chatting with strangers about what’s good in the neighborhood. On my latest visit, YNK was stationed in Amsterdam, where my couch-side coffee table was laden with various Dutch wintertime treats, with a window view of the many cyclists traversing cobblestone roads.
Notably missing on this visit is YNK’s mainstay bartender Ravin Buzzel, who may as well be in actual Amsterdam. “I’m Jonathan Solis, the new head bartender here,” he says with a firm handshake.”Ravin did come up with this menu before leaving, and I’ve been training for nearly two months with him,” he continued.
The new menu has six Dutch-inspired drinks to make you say “Proost!”
The Winter Spiced Old Fashioned – bourbon, winter syrup, Angostura bitters. Balanced and booze-forward, with mulled spice notes.
Toms Glühwein – Red wine, star anise, clove, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger root, demerara sugar, orange, grapefruit (great for groups).
Cold Dutch Winter – Genever, Cherry Heering, Dutch vermouth, Angostura bitters. Served in a Nick & Nora glass, the drink smells of mulled wine and is served warm.
Cocoa Eggnog – Spiced rum, whole milk, cardamom, cinnamon, vanilla, egg, nutmeg, clove, cocoa, chocolate syrup. A coup glass filled with thick, spiced creamy Dutch chocolate. So satisfying.
Dutch Apple Fizz – Genever, lemon-lime juice, cream, apple-infused syrup, apple bitters, apple soda. Think Apple Jack Ramos Gin Fizz with this tall, creamy drink.
Jet Fighter – Genever topped with Schweppes bitter lemon. Simple highball with enough fuel to get you through the next few months.
The current menu runs through winter, and to my surprise, old menus can still be plucked from depending on bar stock.
YNK is located inside the Irvine Marriott at 18000 Von Karman Ave, Irvine. Parking is validated for a few hours. // YNK-Irvine.com
Open Wednesday to Saturday- 530PM- Closing (usually 12AM)