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Press-Telegram – Alcoholic drinks for take out salvation for some Long Beach businesses during coronavirus

Dana Tanner from Restauration with the Sangria that customers can order off the  the to-go menu in Long Beach on Friday, April 24, 2020. (Photo by Brittany Murray, Press-Telegram/SCNG)

Long Beach’s restaurants and bars, shuttered for in-person dining and drinking during the coronavirus “safer at home” orders, have one thing in their favor: they can now sell beer, wine, and cocktails to go.

“It has been a life-saver,” said Dana Tanner, one of the owners of Restauration on Fourth Street. “The moment I read the new rules, I said ‘sangria!’ I knew our customers would enjoy sipping sangria and remembering their meals on our patio.”

Dana Tanner from Restauration with the Sangria that customers can order off the the to-go menu in Long Beach on Friday, April 24, 2020. (Photo by Brittany Murray, Press-Telegram/SCNG)

Tanner was right: people have been rushing to order Restauration’s seasonal, made-from-scratch drinks. The restaurant currently offers two sangria varieties: watermelon blueberry white, and orange blackberry Spanish red. Each 32-ounce container serves four and sells for $17. On Thursdays, Restauration donates $4 from each sangria sale to the California Restaurant Association Foundation, an organization that works to support the food service industry.

Jay Krymis, owner of Padre and Mezcalero on Broadway, also said he was pleased by ABC’s policy.

“In general, alcohol makes people happy,” Krymis said. “This change allows us to bring a little fun to people’s homes.

Padre currently offers a selection of drink kits for four, as well as pre-mixed, two-serving options: 16-ounce kit mixers sell for $20 and range from “Tommy’s Margarita” to “Oaxacan the Garden” (a blend of mint, cilantro, basil, red bell peppers, jalapeno, pineapple and lime juice). Mixers can be purchased with or without spirits, which sell separately for $20. Specialty libations, with names like “Vaya Con Dios” (gem and bolt mezcal, cynar, gran classic, and mole bitters) and “Slap and Tickle” (milagro tequila, papaya, fig jam, ginger, vanilla bean and lime), cost from $9 to $12.

Ubuntu Café on Nieto, which opened mid-February and welcomed in-house diners for one month before the city’s “safer at home” order, sells handmade drinks in take-away bottles. Their 16-ounce “Traveling Bloody Mary,” which takes three days to craft, features vodka-infused sake with jalapeño and wasabi and sells for $12. Ginger lemonade, with yuzu vodka-infused sake, ginger beer and lemon juice, is also $12.

To-go kits are also the ticket at Lola’s Mexican Cuisine, with locations on both Fourth Street and Atlantic Avenue. A four-pack of Lola’s Margarita is available for $15; the Spicy Watermelon Margarita, which serves six, costs $20. Owner Luis Navarro said the drinks are made with fresh ingredients and are “nice and strong.”

Navarro’s newest enterprise, Portuguese Bend, is a distillery on The Promenade. It offers five different to-go cocktail options: “Yaas Please,” “Paniolo Bottle,” “Nut’N Vodka Bottle,” “PB Pimms Cup” and “Rosa Collins Mix.

“Our hand-crafted, pre-made mixers,” Navarro said, “bring the nostalgia of sharing a specialty cocktail with friends to your mini-bar to enjoy at home.” Each kit contains fresh juice and yields four-to-six drinks. Rosa Collins sells for $15; the other four selections cost $25. Anyone who spends $30 receives a free house-made hand sanitizer. Long Beach Tap House on Second Street, meanwhile, offers a non-traditional temptation: boozy milkshakes. The new tap house offers a variety of alcoholic milkshakes for $12, allowing customers to enjoy childhood favorites with an adult twist.