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A Drink-Through of Alta CA's Cocktail Menu

The newest restaurant from the Daniel Patterson Group is located in San Francisco but named Alta CA. It should be in soft opening mode any day now. 

The bar manager for the cocktail program is Ashley Miller, most recently of Hakkasan and TRES before that. Miller has put together a drink program highlighting seasonality, which is nice to find in San Francisco again with most bars focusing on the brown, the bitter, and the stirred.


Miller worked with the teams at Plum and Haven in the East Bay to extend what they do there: make all the liqueurs, bitters, syrups, and other ingredients in-house. The menu is full of them though the homemade-aspect isn't highlighted. 


Not the final menu.


I started my tasting with a sample of the delicious beet ginger beer (non-alcoholic), which is carbonated in a siphon. Miller says she plans to serve different flavors of it throughout the year. Then it was onto the booze. We went from lighter to heavier drinks and I was able to taste everything except the Julep.

I started with the Doc Holiday, a Moscow Mule variation with Seven Stills vodka that was cryo-vacced (sp?) with huckleberries, plus lime and ginger beer. It will be served on Kold Draft (once they get the machine up and running) with snow ice on top. 


I then had the Hang Glider, an Aviation variation with gin, sage simple syrup, house creme de violette, lemon juice, and a spritz of mezcal. It's carbonated in a Perlini carbonator. I really like how the drink smells smoky from the mezcal, then the carbonation hits you and the drink reveals itself to be pleasant, light, and fizzy. 


Next up was the Jumping Frog, made with gin, yuzu juice, celery juice, lime, and soda. It's a big drink in volume and it has 2 ounces of gin in it, but it mostly tastes like celery soda so I'm calling it an ideal hair of the dog drink. 


The Reviver #9 is a spin on a Corpse Reviver with every ingredient made in-house except for the gin. Homemade Malort, Curacao, and Lillet with lemon and gin. The drink is really bitter-forward and complex. 


The Ferryman is a straightforward drink for which Miller says the idea was to taste every ingredient. It contains tequila cryo-vacced with pomegranate and serrano chilis, with hellfire bitters. The drink comes out dry yet refreshing with a building heat from all the chilies. It could be a pitcher drink. 


Jack's Rose is a take on the Jack Rose of course, made with American grape brandy, house creme de rose, and lemon. There's no additional sweetener so they rim half the glass with dehydrated lemon sugar. 


The Samuel Clemens is based on the Mark Twain cocktail and is made scotch, pomelo syrup, and house apple bitters. Miller puts a little spritz of something on the stem of the glass as well, which lends it a gardenia-type aroma. She was playing around with the brand of scotch used and I'm sure with something a little peaty this drink is going to slay everybody. 


Fashions of 1796 is made with Santa Teresa 1796 rum and rye ("to shock the palate" Miller says), plus spiced orange syrup, orange bitters, mole bitters, and blood orange aromatic spray. It's supposed to be a take on an Old Fashioned but it has a lot more volume in the glass. It's really bright, floral, and juicy. Dangerously drinkable. 


They're also making a selection of barrel aged cocktails that are served in vintage glassware. The Barrel Aged Manhattan has a nice spice from the house aromatic bitters. The Barrel Aged Boulevardier has house-made Calisaya and "highland bitters". The Barrel Aged Negroni is really interesting as they don't use Campari but their house Malort (which is super intensely bitter with wormwood). It tastes closer to a Manhattan than a Negroni really, but it is delicious nonetheless. 


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So that's that. 

The bar will open during the day during the week (remember, Twitter is nearby) and the kitchen will stay open late so they're hoping to cultivate an industry/late-night crowd as well. I visited during the day and it's a nice and sunny space. I can see wasting a few weekday hours there when I should be working instead. See you there.



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