Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Drinking in San Francisco

Well, this post is now way overdue so I better get on with it before I forget what happened! Here are a few of the highlights from my cocktail drinking adventures in San Francisco in April, beyond the Tiki drinks I wrote about last month.

I tried to cram a lot of bars into a short amount of time, with so much to see and so many great people to meet. I didn't get as many places as Rick over at Kaiser Penguin, but I did pretty well considering that I often was driving and had other commitments during my visit.

Perennial Favorite Stops: Nopa, Alembic, Absinthe
Although I don't have pictures of them from this trip, I really enjoyed seeing Neyah White the cocktail genius at Nopa again, and hanging out at The Alembic again and meeting Daniel Hyatt. I also had the pleasure of meeting Jonny Raglin at Absinthe and having lunch (and a fabulous cocktail) there (and my own personal autographed copy of Jeff Hollinger's book too).

Day One: Alembic, Heaven's Dog, Beretta
After a light dinner and cocktails at Alembic (one of our friends had never been there, so we went again) we headed to Heaven's Dog. Lucky for us, we found some blogger friends there, as well as Erik Ellestad and Thad Vogler behind the bar. Great drinks again (I only had sips since I was the driver), and fantastic food. I got to try a new (to me) absinthe, Leopold Bros.

At right, a shot of Camper English, cocktail and spirits afficionado and writer extraordinaire, at Heaven's Dog. When it was closing time,Camper took us over to Beretta, which we closed down as well. At Beretta, my most memorable cocktail was the Single Village Fix with smoky mezcal, pineapple gomme syrup and lime. I noticed many mezcal cocktails on menus, and also many with gum/gomme syrup, so I hunted down some Small Hands syrup to bring home.

Day Two: Clock Bar, Cantina, Dosa on Fillmore
On my next free evening in the city, I stopped in at the Clock Bar to meet Marco Dionysos and try the Chartreuse Swizzle that I'd been hearing about. It was really busy, so I enjoyed my drink then continued my adventure.

It was a short walk to Cantina, where I met Duggan McDonnell, and found our friend Gabrielle Barnes behind the bar. Gabrielle was one of the first people we met when we came to San Francisco a couple of years ago - she was working at Bourbon & Branch then, and when we asked where else we should go for great drinks, she recommended Nopa (sit at the bar). We had an amazing time there with Neyah behind the bar.

This time around, Gabrielle had just returned from the Mixology Summit, and made me a great cocktail with Black Seal rum, Grand Marnier, and Cynar - she didn't have a name for it, but it was a fantastic drink. Gabrielle is competing in one of the cocktail competitions at Tales of the Cocktail this year, so I'll be cheering her on there.

Wrapping up the night, I stopped in a Dosa on Fillmore, and had the Bollywood Hills made with Subrosa's Saffron-infused Vodka, as well as a nice little cocktail made with our Distiller's Gin No. 6. The cocktails (menu designed by Jonny Raglin) were great, and so was the Dosa Masala (yum).

That was it for this trip, so many bars, so little time....


Cocktails at 80 said...

Next time may I recommend you try Bourbon & Branch?

~Sonja~ said...

Actually we went to B&B the last time we were in town, so I tried to focus first on places I hadn't been before. I got to a few of our prior stops, but not all, obviously! Next time, next time...