Chris Lane, formerly of Heaven's Dog and Wo Hing General Store, took over the bar manager position at Lolinda in San Francisco in December. (The original menu was done by Lane Ford.) Lolinda is a large, modern steakhouse owned by the same folks who brought us Beretta, Starbelly, and Delarosa.
The cocktail menu is split between eight original cocktails (six of them Lane's) and nine classics including the Negroni and Americano. This is Lane's first full menu.
Lane says his directive with the menu was to make the drinks as boldly flavored, modern versions of steakhouse cocktails. Most of them are quite spirit-forward, and on average the drinks are dark brown or yellow in color.
I found them to be food-friendly yet not food-dependent. You can definitely just have a drink and grab a snack, like the delicious smoked artichoke.
Modern Cocktails of Lolinda, From Best to Worst
1. Carpenter’s Hand brandy, amontillado sherry, Drambuie, orange peel, served on the rock.
This drink owes its magnificence to the choice of brandy - Marie Duffau Armagnac. It's a little funky and wild, with so much character it carries through over the other ingredients. The chocolate notes of the sherry seem to grow in intensity as the drink slowly melts on the big ice cube. This drink hits it out of the park.
2. Devil’s Backbone rye, islay scotch, Averna amaro, Gran Classico, two bitters, orange peel, served on the stem.