Just like the uncool kid in class, merlot has had its fair share of “kick me” signs taped to its back. I say, enough of this ridiculous childishness! Merlot, with its smooth tannins and fruit-forward approachability, became super popular (and subsequently rejected) for a reason. It’s freaking delicious! Liberty School merlot, named after the old one-room school houses that once speckled this great state, is a prime example of merlot’s inherent greatness. With silky cherry, blackberry, and plum flavors wrapped in cedar and vanilla aromas, it has appeal for days. I don’t care what that miserable class clown says. This merlot has been voted “most likely to succeed.” Haters gonna hate.
• Liberty School 2013 Merlot—$16; 1585 Live Oak Road, Paso Robles.
You know that awkward feeling when you change your Facebook status from single to “in a relationship”? You know what I mean. You just made what was once between you and your beloved “Facebook official.” Hi mom! Well, now you can cheers to all that weirdness and hopefully put it behind you with a new Valentine’s Day cocktail brought to you by Eureka Burger. The drink tastes like a chocolate-covered strawberry yet is made with Buffalo Trace Bourbon, house-made strawberry simple syrup, lemon juice, and chocolate bitters (just don’t post to social media while inebriated). Not feeling so “official” about your love life? Don’t worry. You can always order up the “It’s complicated.” With spicy jalapeño and grown-up gin, it gets the point across with a wink and a nod. Sometimes complicated can be fun.
• Eureka Burger’s FBO cocktail—$12; 4910 1141 Chorro St., SLO.
Hayley Thomas is happily in a “Facebook official” relationship. Toast to her good fortune and send drink ideas to email@example.com.