W. Wolfskill: Rihanna inspired cocktails with a SoCal citrus twist
World Best Bar
Apr 25, 2018
26 November 2020
Located in downtown Riverside, 60 miles east of Los Angeles, is the craft cocktail bar, W. Wolfskill, and its partner restaurant, The Salted Pig, which are both owned by Riverside native Ronaldo Fierro. Known for its friendly staff, the bar offers up a sleek, yet inviting interior and has a knack for producing refined drink menus that perfectly combine the area’s rich citrus heritage with the ever-changing world of pop culture. Effortlessly cool, you enter a corrugated metal warehouse, only to be greeted by warm, wooden tones, exposed brickwork and tantalising aromas wafting out of the nearby kitchen. Slate grey and red accents compliment the main event: a fully stocked bar, impressively crowned with a light box display advertising the bar’s latest creative influence. Factor in the vintage record player and a built-in photo booth, and you’ve got yourself a night to remember. Get your camera ready; you’ll want to document all of your exhilarating adventures in mixology at W. Wolfskill.
This South Californian bar has certainly been making waves recently, thanks to its latest muse, Rihanna, and the cocktails that her chart-topping hits helped to inspire. Ronaldo Fierro, the owner of W. Wolfskill, happened to be listening to Rihanna’s latest album, Anti, one day while creating some thrilling, new concoctions. The cogs just started turning in his head. Drawing inspiration from earlier classics as well as her hot, new hits, Fierro challenged his staff to dream up exciting elixirs that embodied some of his favourite tracks. Flash forward a little bit, and you’ve got an eight-piece signature menu that features cocktails named after Rhianna’s greatest beats. Some of the bar’s best creations include the rich, bourbon-based ’Shut Up and Drive’, the yuzu-infused ‘Unfaithful’ and the sensuous, but spicy ‘B**** Better Have My Money’. If the Unapologetic artist’s essence could be bottled, this is where you’d find it
This isn’t the first time that such a famous muse from Western pop culture has influenced the menu of this bar, though. Fierro and his talented team of bartenders have featured signature cocktails inspired by books, music and the silver screen since the bar’s grand opening in 2014. Previous showstoppers have included ‘Polyjuice Potion’ and ‘Butterbeer’ from J. K. Rowling’s famous Harry Potter novels, ‘A Clockwork Persimmon’ as a funky take on Anthony Burgess’s dystopian work and ‘Rosebud’, presumably inspired by the cult, classic film Citizen Kane. Although we can only guess which fan favourites will feature on the signature cocktail list in the months to come, there have been whispers that ‘Winter is Coming’ soon to W. Wolfskill, despite the balmy climate enjoyed by residents and tourists alike.
Behind all of the glitz and glamour, W. Wolfskill’s heart lies in its location, which plays an integral part in many of its iconic creations. Whether it’s the tangy lemon flavour in ‘Kiss it Better’ or the lip-smacking grapefruit bitters in ‘California King Bed’, W. Wolfskill’s citrus roots run deep, thanks to Riverside’s historical connection to the SoCal citrus industry. The bar itself is named after William Wolfskill, a man who’s known for playing a pivotal role in the development of the state’s multimillion-dollar industry. While not every visitor will have heard of the bar’s namesake, his legacy courses through every aspect of the establishment. From the rare citrus peels that adorn some of the bartender’s greatest masterpieces to the gold-leafed lettered door that reads ‘Office of William Wolfskill’. The great man’s signature is truly hidden in plain sight.
It’s clear to see that W. Wolfskill has a whole lot to offer beyond its affinity for cultural references. It’s not just a bar; it has a story to tell for those who are willing to listen. Order something outside of your comfort zone, immerse yourself in its history and take time to absorb each well thought out detail. You may be surprised at what you uncover!
Photo by @wwolfskill on Instagram