A most unusual experience recently (for me) was drinking two really good cocktails in restaurants.

Generally I find cocktails in bars not great by my lights of course; that is I prefer my own mixology.

But in Healdsburg, CA recently, in a restaurant I went for its Sazerac, advertised as made with Jefferson's 10 year old rye, Herbsaint and Peychaud's bitters.

And good it was! You could taste each element but none predominated. Also, it was served neat (no ice), as the Sazerac was originally. Later I went to the bar to compliment the barman and said it was great to see it served without ice. He responded, with an air of professional pride, "but of course". A man who knows his stuff.

In Vancouver, B.C., at a restaurant in trendy Yaletown I ordered the house Old Fashioned. It was made (I could tell by the colour) wth Canadian whisky and I thought it might be bland, but not at all. It had a good whisky flavour with an intriguing cinnamon taste, I 'm not sure how they achieved that but the balance was perfect.

A pro mixologist is worth his weight in gold.