As the sun drifts toward the constellation of Capricornus, aiming to reach that celestial cluster around late December, the local bar and restaurant Capricorn, in downtown Astoria, recently achieved another milestone.
Nov. 29 was the one-year anniversary of Elena Shern’s pub in the space formerly occupied by Blu Orchid Thai on Commercial Street.
I recently visited Capricorn Pub & Fine Foods as Shern was preparing to hold a Thanksgiving feast in the spot for customers as well as her family.
Shern took a break from stuffing cabbage rolls — one of the Mediterranean delicacies her menu is known for — to pour me a drink. Having landed in Astoria by way of Romania, Greece, Turkey and Wisconsin, Shern’s bar has a similar global appeal, with some specific liquors and liqueurs popular south of the Balkan peninsula in Athens, Istanbul and Tripoli.
The Mediterranean Mule — a sweeter, sunnier version of what they are pouring into copper mugs in dreary Moscow — gets its richness from Figenza, a fig-infused vodka that reminds her of her travels through Greece and Turkey, though it is imported from Germany.
One of the nice things about having so many innovative bartenders in this town is that they have to source their booze through our local liquor stores, which means our local liquor stores have plenty of high-quality imports and domestics for the home consumer to play around with. Figenza is available at the Astoria Liquor Store.
And Shern says, while she is aware of the recent health scare raised by copper mugs, you shouldn’t forgo the proper vessel. It’s not really a Mule without it.
—Recipe courtesy of Elena Shern, owner and manager, Capricorn Pub & Fine Foods, Astoria, Oregon