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Ugly Slides About Lower-Alcohol Libations

Earlier this week during Toronto Cocktail Week at the Drake Hotel, Joaquin Simo of Pouring Ribbons and I gave a talk about lower-alcohol cocktails called Full Flavour, Lower Proof. I attempted to make the world's ugliest PowerPoint presentation to accompany the talk, and I think I did a pretty good job. If you'd like to experience the joy and eye-ache that was the presentation, click through the images below. Read more →

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Low Alcohol Cocktails in SF Getting Their Due?

Today's post is written by Lou Bustamante. Lou is a contributor to publications including the SF Chronicle, SF Weekly and Wine & Spirits. Just like classic cocktails endured their “dark ages,” low alcohol cocktails in San Francisco (and California) endured the era of saketinis, soju margaritas, and shochu cosmos. The way the liquor laws in the state work are that they allow a finite number of hard liquor licenses, but beer/wine licenses are much more readily available. In California it was hard not to think about low alcohol cocktails as a kind of compromise, like carob chips in cookies. But... Read more →

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A Preview of Bergerac's Cocktails in San Francisco

The cocktail bar Bergerac will open this Saturday, but I had a small preview of some of the drinks on the menu courtesy of Russell Davis who is the mixology consultant on the project. Davis worked at Rio Grande, created the program at Ice Cream Bar, and is a guest expert on the television show Bar Rescue. The drinks at Bergerac are not all his creations, and he brought in some from Yael Stormborn (winner of last year's Speed Rack competition who recently relocated from LA) and possibly other members of the team that includes Alex Velez (recently relocated from... Read more →

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A Look at the Cocktails at Ziryab in San Francisco

Today's post is written by Lou Bustamante. Lou is a contributor to publications including the SF Chronicle, SF Weekly and Wine & Spirits. Walking into the new sleek and airy version of Ziryab in the Western Addition, a mere block away from the famous bar/restaurant Nopa, you might notice the absence of the hookahs, but you will certainly notice the bar. Bar manager Zachary Brian Taylor has created some seriously interesting cocktails based on Middle Eastern/Mediterranean ingredients that manage to not feel gimmicky. Here’s a glance at the menu: Ziryab Manhattan The Ziryab Manhattan ($10, date-infused rye, vermouth, lapsang souchang... Read more →

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Cocktail Menu: The Winslow in NYC with Drinks by Dominic Venegas

Bi-coastal bartender Dominic Venegas has put together the drink list for The Winslow in NYC, which opened last night. San Francisco residents will remember Venegas from his stints everywhere from Range to Bacar to Smuggler's Cove. In NYC, he also bartends at NoMad. I don't see the cocktail menu for The Winslow online, so here it is. Note the heavy emphasis on the Gin & Tonic (official drink of 2013!) and the Light Cocktails section. Gin & Tonic A selection of gins to be paired with fruit, spice, botanicals, and the perfect tonic to help showcase their characteristics. Ford’s Gin..................................................................10... Read more →

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Cocktail Menu: La Urbana in San Francisco, Opening September 4

La Urbana opens on September 4 in San Francisco. The restaurant and bar features a large mezcal bottle and cocktail selection by Bar Manager Lucas Ranzuglia. Here is the menu, subject to change. I see: "chile water capsule," "tortilla water," smoking volcano bowl, and chimolera-extracted citrus oils in the margarita. MEZCAL COCKTAILS Mezcal and Cacao 11 A refreshing cocktail based on Oaxacan cacao crafted in the bygone French style (rose water, lavender flowers, vanilla, orange peel & spices). Served in a highball with Mina Real Mezcal & crushed ice. Acapulco - Manila 11 Inspired by the commercial route between these... Read more →

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Cocktail Menu: Ziryab in San Francisco

Ziryab has long been one of those restaurants that stands out when you go past it on Divisadero Street in San Francisco, with a rock facade and front patio with hookah-topped tables. Well now they've given the place a renovation and have a full liquor license. They've brought on Zach Taylor (The Brixton, The Corner Store, Hog & Rocks) to do the drink menu and he's kept it in sync with the Middle Eastern theme of the food. We see: dates, arak, yogurt, coffee, and mint. I wonder if they'll start serving punch out of the hookas. The pipes would... Read more →

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G&Tea Cocktail Menu at Firefly in DC

This appears to be the summer of the Gin & Tonic, particularly with Spanish-style super-garnished tumblers of tonic making the rounds at several bars. In Washington, DC, Jon Harris the restuarant Firefly has combined Spanish-style G&Ts with Japanese-style drinking of spirits with tea to come up with a G&Tea program. Pretty nifty. Plymouth & Earl Grey strawberry, white chocolate, szechuan pepper Plymouth Navy Strength & Pu’er Tuo Cha lavender, dark chocolate, sesame, cinnamon Bombay Sapphire & Chai carrot, turmeric root, coriander, cumin Tanqueray 10 & Guranse banana, fennel pollen, green onion, parsley Beefeater 24 & Matcha vanilla, mint, grapefruit peel... Read more →

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