Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Ferryman

More fun with St. George Spirits’ Dry Rye Gin, one of the grooviest things out of Alameda since the China Clipper. And here’s another Cynar-fueled vegetal cocktail. I’ve said before that I can’t do cucumber drinks for my housemate, but the Cynar-celery combo is really working for him. This one has ginger too.


The Ferryman
  • 1 1/2 St George Dry Rye Gin
  • 1 oz Cynar
  • 1/4 oz Canton Ginger Liqueur
  • 1/2 oz lemon-lime juice
  • 2 dashes celery bitters
Shake with ice and strain into an old fashioned. Ice cube.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Strawberries and Absinthe: Brunch in North Beach

An interesting variety of options on a brunch cocktail menu is so important. (I’ve always been a morning person.) And for those of us asking for something besides a Mimosa or a Bloody, the choices are getting increasingly inventive. This morning in North Beach, I had two totally different strawberry-absinthe combinations, each at a very different and equally enjoyable establishment.


Hophead Vodka, Ninkasi IPA, strawberry, absinthe. Everything supports the strawberry in this pleasantly dry treatment. The refreshing tartness of the beer made me ask if the strawberry was syrup or shrub. (The former.) No straw, which is just as well or it would be gone all too soon.

cream-style fizz

St. George Absinthe, strawberry-thyme shrub, cream, egg white, seltzer. A magical sort of 19th-century pink absinthe milkshake that’s almost a brunch in itself. I asked for a little taste of the shrub neat, and finished it. The Famous pairs well with the nifty Waffle Shot. My-oh-my.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Tempus Fugit Liqueur de Violettes

This is a fine, Swiss-made violet liqueur from a company in Petaluma, California. Their media points out the lower sugar content of this product compared to crème-style violet liqueurs, and how this showcases the delicate florals. I’d probably care more if I were drinking the stuff neat except to taste a bit. That said, a sip is definitely intriguing. There’s a subtle musk note I keep chasing but never catch up with. The color is interesting too, and appears to be from the flowers, a lilac-pink. Let’s try a cocktail with the stuff.


Erik Satie Cocktail
  • 1 1/2 oz St. George Dry Rye Gin
  • 3/4 oz dry vermouth
  • 1/2 oz Tempus Fugit Liqueur de Violettes
  • 2 dashes absinthe
  • 2 dashes lavender bitters
Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Lemon twist.

The liqueur is based on a French recipe from 1868, and has something both old and Old World. I composed the above cocktail from the Violettes’ logical compliments, the other tastes of the Belle Époque, with which it goes perfectly. The mauve—“pink trying to be purple,” as Whistler would say—turns rosé in the company of dry vermouth.

Monday, August 19, 2013

MxMo LXXVI: Fire!—Voice of Temptation

Sliding this one in under the wire for our superb host, Muse of Doom. It’s another Mixology Monday, and our theme is Fire! The Muse writes:

Tiki-philes have their flaming spent lime shells and scorpion bowls. Classic cocktailers have the magic of a flamed orange zest. Molecular mixologists have their Smoking Guns. (And yes, frat boys have their flaming shots.) Even brunchtime drinkers have spicy Bloody Marys.

You don’t have to go full Blue Blazer, not nearly—heck, you could go full Fireball Whiskey! (Or Fire Rock Pale Ale, etc.) You could riff on the Old Flame or come up with an inventive name of your own. You could even use a good firewater or burned wine. (And if you’re grilling fruit, save some for me, will ya?)

In essence, bring the heat! Bring the Fire! Bring your inspiration!

Well, I like a little barbecue as much as the next cocktail enthusiast—maybe more. I had limited time for this challenge but mezcal with a flamed fruit garnish would give me a little smoke and a little fire. So I pulled out my trusty Lemon Hart 151 and a steel bowl, and cut a slice from an apple.

Flaming anything should be done with caution, especially if in a hurry, so I put a bowl of water underneath my crucible, and a potholder under the whole setup. Three pinches of brown sugar on the apple slice gave it a little caramel, and there was just enough rum to wet the apple but burn itself out after a bit.

The cocktail to go under this burnt offering is a pairing of straight apple brandy and the Lemon Hart mellowed by molasses and lemon, rich and intense—almost an apple gastrique effect.

Voice of Temptation
  • 1 oz straight apple brandy
  • 1/2 oz Lemon Hart 151 rum
  • 1/2 oz lemon juice
  • 1/4 oz molasses
  • 1/4 oz mezcal
Shake hard with ice and strain into an old fashioned. Ice cube. Flamed apple garnish. (See above.)

Sunday, August 18, 2013

SF Pub Crawling: Trad’r Sam; Trick Dog

Lots of running around like the proverbial decapitated chicken lately, tasting beverages of every description. There were two must-trys from my list that I finally squeezed in: one old, one new.

Trad’r Sam is the comfortable old favorite everyone hopes to find—so much so that I blinked a couple of times when it emerged from the deep silver fog of a Richmond morning, wondering if it could really be there. Still there. My cohort and I had a chance to chat with the affable barman Fred before a rush, and it was swell time. Try a Monkey’s Tail or a Planter’s Punch.

Tropical drink, hurrican glass, umbrella, compound curve bar

Trick Dog is the latest of the greatest, a cocktailian bar with food where everything’s exciting and fun. When I walk into one of these places, I try to order the drink with the strongest element of surprise, a strategy which could prove challenging at Trick Dog. But for this visit, I decided to see how my current fascination with wine cocktails might play out in their list, and was happy to find two sherry items, Bad Girl (no winking at the bartender, please) and I Am… I Said. And of course they were great, and totally surprising.
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