The coming anti-garnish movement
Amaros in Italy and SF

Conduit cocktails and convoluting the story

I finally made it into Conduit for some drinks the other night. The menu by Reza Esmali has a lot of surprises. He combines Rhum Clement's Creole Shrub with Chartreuse and lime in the Monk's Voyage, absinthe and tequila in The Hub, and apple brandy, lemon, and mint in the Gravenstein Smash. The dessert cocktails are unique too, bringing bourbon and almond grappa together in the Americana, and Creole Shurb and Nocino walnut liqueur in the Clement. (There is also a classic cocktail section for the less adventurous.)

I don't know where he came up with these ideas, but I like where they're going. I wasn't in complete agreement with the balance of some of them- more nuts, please- but they deserve another try seeing as I'd just come from having about four drinks at another bar. Luckily this place is near my house and open late.

It's great how bars in San Francisco are veering in different directions. Innovation here and there, spirits business morality there, organic drinks there and there, fresh fruit in many bars, and classic-derivative cocktails all over the place.

While variety is definitely a good thing, it will make the panel I'll be giving this year at Tales of the Cocktail on regional American cocktail trends a little more difficult to sum up. It used to be fresh fruit = SF, stuff from bottles = NY. Now there's a lot more overlap.

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