It's March - and that can only mean one thing: Martini Madness at Toscanos Cafe and Wine Bar in Puyallup. This is the seventh year for the annual March event giving diners who order a featured drink at the restaurant a hand-painted glass they can take home. To date, the restaurant has given away 6,000 glasses.
Said owner Tom Pantley last week about specialty drinks, "This week the bartenders got creative with the Spicy Ginger Gimlet with housemade ginger-pepper simple syrup. The Mango Lemon Drop really tastes great, and the Lychee Martini has a unique flavor." Featured cocktails change, and so do the glasses every week. Drinks are $9.95-$10.95 each. Click here for more details.
And here's something Pantley said could be a game changer for restaurant owners - tomorrow he expects to be the first Washington state restaurant to receive a shipment of liquor through the private distributor Southern Wine and Spirits. It will be the first time he has ever purchased liquor outside of a liquor store for his restaurant. "In the past, all restaurants that served cocktails were assigned specific local liquor stores to purchase their spirits from," Pantley explained. "After the passage of Initiative 1183 state run liquor stores are being phased out and restaurants will now be buying their spirits mostly from distributing companies that in the past have only been able to sell us beer and wine. This is a huge change for Washington State's restaurant industry ... Toscanos is excited to be first in participating in the new law." What will that mean for diners? Pantley said that remains to be seen because the program is so new, but he theorizes that restaurants probably will see an improvement in the selection of liquors available. "No one really knows what changes the diners will see as we go forward. There should be a greater selection of spirits available to restaurants because the state no longer regulates what products come into Washington. You may also see the products of more small local distilleries," he said.