One of our favorite meals in San Fran was at Nopa. The place came highly recommended from our new friend Gabrielle at Bourbon and Branch (another great cocktail bar we had visited on Friday night), and boy was she right. We arrived around 11 pm Saturday night, and we sat at the bar. Shortly after arriving, we met Neyah White (-->), the fantastic mixologist behind many of their libations.
Great Cocktails and New (to us) Spirits
We tried a couple of cocktails at Nopa, including The Last Word (Green Chartreuse, gin, maraschino and lime), as well as a classic Sazerac (with Wild Turkey) - both were very good. We then moved on to searching the bar for bottles of things we had not seen before (one of our favorite pastimes, especially when traveling). I tried a bourbon called Hancock's Reserve that was very nice, and made by the fine folks at Buffalo Trace. Derek ordered a classic Manhattan, and Neyah introduced us to a new vermouth - Carpano Antica. It was fantastic.
We tried some homemade bitters (loved the Sunshine bitters with saffron & cardamom) and talked about other classic cocktails with Neyah and Paul, the very nice gentleman sitting next to us. With our dessert (an intriguing warm apple & cheddar crisp with reggiano gelato), Neyah poured a Angostura 1919 rum, which we had also never seen before (why don't we have those in Chicago?).
And Future Adventures...
At the end of the night, Neyah graciously let us leave with bottles of two things we'd not seen in the flesh before - Q Tonic and Cock 'n Bull ginger beer. Look for future posts on this elusive tonic that had been missing from our earlier review, and of this original brand of ginger beer! I feel a Moscow Mule coming on....
One thing I realized is that we really do need to travel more and see what's happening in the cocktail culture outside of Chicago. There are amazing flavors, products and cocktails that haven't made their way here yet!