Y'all are going to feel super duper sorry for me, but I had to go to a nine-cocktail, three and a half hour lunch at Mourad, the very fancy Downtown SF Moroccan restaurant last week. This was for a press event so I'm sorry to report that you can't just go in and order it.
The purpose of the lunch was to introduce the new cocktail menu developed by new bar manager JP Smith. Smith was most recently at Pagan Idol and Bourbon & Branch, and various bars in Denver previous to that, before taking over for Anthony Parks at Mourad.
The lucky assembled members of the press were treated to lunch to soak up all the booze, but you don't read this website to hear about food. The drinks were all served sample-sized (with a display drink put out for photography) so the images below are some final-drink-size and some small size. In other words, don't worry: The drinks are all big enough when you order them.
They're now making most cocktail ingredients in-house, so there are a number of bright and creative tinctures, gastriques, syrups, and bitters in the drinks.
Long story short: Here are the drinks and what I think of them:
NORTHERN FOG: krogstad aquavit . leblon verde cachaça . pecan orgeat . vanilla passion fruit . lime . grapefruit . amontillado sherry float
Probably my favorite drink of the lunch came out first. This Fog Cutter variation (it's a varies pretty far from the original recipe) was topped with a big pour of delicious sherry. The sherry was good enough that I wanted a side of it on its own, but then I remembered I had another eight drinks coming so I exercised a rare bit of restraint.
THE TRAVELER: golden moon gin . kummel caraway liqueur . anise liqueur . apple & celery juice . lemon . honey . tonic . preserved lemon fennel salt
Delicious, refreshing, savory, crushable Gin and Tonic variation. Sorry for the garbage picture that makes it look disgusting. This one is fine with food pairing (even though I think it's weird to have salt drinks with food) or on its own.
ANTARTIQUE: avua prata cachaça . st. germain elderflower liqueur . sweet vermouth . amaro . pineapple juice . rhubarb walnut bitters . quail egg
This one has a lot of stuff in it and also a quail egg.
THE SECRET COCKTAIL: hangar one vodka . arkansas black applejack brandy . lemon . grapefruit . pomegranate raspberry syrup . thyme & flower scented aloe water . egg white
Hey, it's a White Lady variation served in a flute-style glass with flowers spiraling down the stem and it's a safe guess that they sell forty million of this drink every day.
QUINA CRUSTA: tempus fugit quinquina . bonal . campari . luxardo maraschino liqueur . lemon . bilberry ginger tincture.
Dear nerds: Here is a drink for you. It has all the things you like except mezcal, but you don't need to put that in everything. Plus it's got crusta cred. Yes it's very very good.
RISK, REBELLION, PASSION, & MYSTERY: drambuie blended scotch liqueur . lime juice . fresh mint . egg white . whisky barrel aged bitters . mint bitters
Smith says one of his favorite things to do is make cocktails with unappreciated ingredients. In this drink he's using Drambuie (that fits the bill) as the base spirit for an egg white cocktail. This is a drink I would never have considered ordering (Drambuie and mint? What are you smoking?) but it was a great surprise and unexpected flavor combination that works. We had it as a dessert cocktail.
DAYDREAMS: cocchi americano . appleton jamaican signature rum . tyrconnell single malt whisky . apple cardamom gastrique . chili almond oil
Despite the hearty rum and whisky, this is more of an appetizer with the body of a boozier drink, thanks to the aperitif wine. Yes to this also.
REAPING REWARD: casa dragones blanco tequila . ancho reyes verde chile liqueur . mezcal . kumquat cinnamon marmalade . grapefruit . smoked salt
So I guess making cocktails with Casa Dragones is a thing now? Sure. This drink fills that request for "something like a Margarita" and "something spicy" but overall it's pretty mild in flavor and gorgeously presented.
LOUISVILLE: michter’s american whiskey . sweet vermouth . crème de cacao . lemon verbena syrup . five-spice tincture . flamed orange oil
It's sorta kinda like a Manhattan or Vieux Carre sorta.
FIELDS OF GOLD: capurro acholado pisco . st. george spiced pear liqueur . saffron liqueur . lemon . basil eau de vie . agave syrup
It's a pisco and Strega drink with lots of saffron and it looks like it could be too simple but no; it's delicious and my second favorite drink on this menu and you can wear the flowers home in your hair.
Also I just realized they snuck an extra drink in there so we had ten. No wonder I didn't get anything done the rest of the day.