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Drinking the New Cocktail Menus at Foreign Cinema and Laszlo in SF

Kevin Dowell (formerly of Wo Hing General Store, Zero Zero, Rio Grande, Starlight Room, and many other places) has taken over the cocktail program at Mission restaurant and brunch epicenter Foreign Cinema, as well as at the casual bar Laszlo in the front of the building.

That means 3 new cocktail menus: One for each venue and a third for brunch drinks. And they all launch tomorrow, January 4. 

Customers drink a lot of cocktails at both venues, but this venus and its clientele aren't on the cocktail snob circuit, so Dowell has made an effort to keep the drinks in  balance between friendliness/ease of use, interestingness, and speediness to execute.  

Foreign Cinema's dinner menu is split into Originals, Classics, and Friends - those made by people Dowell's worked for. On the first menu he posts cocktails by Joel Teitelbaum, Brooke Arthur, and Scott Baird. 

Stranglehold Diplomatico Rum, Lime, Orgeat, Rittenhouse Rye, Angostura

This drink is a riff on the Trinidad Sour, except it uses 1/2 ounce of Angostura bitters rather than an ounce or more. It has that nice spice from the Ango and added rum to bring up the proof. 


Lady Grinning Soul  Reyka Vodka, Grapefruit Cordial, Lemon, Cucumber, Manzanilla Sherry

Mmmm, sherry! There is actually more sherry than vodka in this drink but Dowell listed it last to emphasize the vodka. This is definitely the patio cocktail of the lot, refreshing, cucumbery and bright, with a dry finish from the sherry. You're gonna like it.


The Black Lodge James E. Pepper Rye, Saffron Amaro, Apricot Liqueur, Orange Oil

This would be the simple Manhattan variation with added apricot. The "saffron amaro" in question is Meletti, but Dowell is making an effort to keep things simple in his menu descriptions. It will be served on a large rock rather than cubes.


Surfer Girl Pierre Ferrand Cognac, El Dorado 12 Year Rum, Coconut, Lemon, Banana, Honey, Sea Salt, Soda

This is the sure-to-be-popular, 8-ingredient drink in a ceramic tiki glass that will make the staff mutiny against their bar manager.  It's both really rich and creamy and also quite boozy.  People are gonna get messed up.


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For the Classics section of the menu the three drinks are the Casino, Sherry Cobbler, and Saratoga (one of my favorites). The Friends section lists Joel Teitelbaum's Vida Vida, Brooke Arthur's Laughing Water, and Scott Baird's Rio Grande.  

Foreign Cinema's brunch menu currently lists four cocktails, three of them originals, though they still expect to pour a lot of Mimosas and Bloody Marys as well. 

Suave Ben James E. Pepper Rye, Mandarine Napoleon, Lemon, Orgeat, Mint

This drink is a "Rye Tai" essentially, and is served Mai Tai style over crushed ice. 


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Tale to Tell Spirit Works Sloe Gin, Perry’s Tot Navy-Strength Gin, Lemon, Angostura, Egg White, Soda

 This cocktail is a take on a Sloe Gin Fizz, except kicked up a notch with navy-strength gin. It is surprisingly earthy due to the real sloe gin. 


I didn't get to try the house-made horchata that will be paired with blanco tequila. 

Now at Laszlo, Dowell said his goal was to keep the drinks familiar but quite boozy: it's a heavy-drinking crowd over there. To this menu he'll add beer and shot specials as well. 

The drinks are nearly all classics: Painkiller, Old Fashioned, El Diablo, Hanky Panky, Fish House Punch, Brooklyn, and Southside. But there is one tribute drink on the menu. For the first menu it's John Ottman (Holy Water)'s After the Gold Rush, which was my favorite drink I tried at Holy Water on a recent visit. 

Going forward, that guest drink will always be a recipe from a Mission bartender as a nod to the camaraderie between the bartenders in the neighborhood.


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The new menus go into place Saturday. Get on it! 


 The full menus are below. 

Note, all menus subject to change. 

Foreign Cinema Dinner Cocktails 


Stranglehold ($11)

Diplomatico Rum, Lime, Orgeat, Rittenhouse Rye, Angostura


Lady Grinning Soul ($11)

Reyka Vodka, Grapefruit Cordial, Lemon, Cucumber, Manzanilla Sherry


The Black Lodge ($11)

James E. Pepper Rye, Saffron Amaro, Apricot Liqueur, Orange Oil


Surfer Girl ($12)

Pierre Ferrand Cognac, El Dorado 12 Year Rum, Coconut, Lemon, Banana, Honey, Sea Salt, Soda



Sherry Cobbler ($10)

Napoleon Amontillado Sherry, Dry Curacao, Cane, Seasonal Fruit


Casino ($10)

Aviation Gin, Lemon, Luxardo Maraschino, Orange Bitters


Saratoga ($11)

Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon, Germain Robin Brandy, Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth, Bitters



Vida Vida (Joel Teitelbaum, Zero Zero; 2010) ($11)

Altos Blanco Tequila, Del Maguey Vida Mezcal, Lime, Green Chartreuse, Agave


Laughing Water (Brooke Arthur, Wo Hing General Store; 2011) ($11)

Rittenhouse Rye, Dolin Dry Vermouth, Lemon, Cinnamon, Pineapple, Nutmeg


Rio Grande (Scott Baird, Rio Grande; 2012) ($11)

Buffalo Trace Bourbon, Siete Leguas Reposado Tequila, Lemon, Lime, Ginger, Spice rim


Brunch at Foreign Cinema:

Tale to Tell ($11)

Spirit Works Sloe Gin, Perry’s Tot Navy-Strength Gin, Lemon, Angostura, Egg White, Soda


Suave Ben ($11)

James E. Pepper Rye, Mandarine Napoleon, Lemon, Orgeat, Mint


Perfect Day ($10)

Altos Blanco Tequila and Housemade Horchata


Pisco Punch ($10)

Encanto Pisco, Lemon, Pineapple Syrup


Laszlo Cocktails ($10 each) 

Old Fashioned

Choice of Buffalo Trace Bourbon or James E. Pepper Rye, Demerara Sugar, Bitters


Painkiller #3

Three-Rum Blend, Pineapple, Orange, Coconut, Nutmeg


Hanky Panky

Beefeater Gin, Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth, Fernet, Orange Peel


El Diablo

Pueblo Viejo Blanco Tequila, Lime, Cassis Du Bourgogne, Ginger Beer



James E. Pepper Rye, Dolin Dry Vermouth, Luxardo Maraschino, Bigalet Amer



Aviation Gin, Lemon, Lime, Sugar, Mint


Philadelphia Fish House Punch

El Dorado 8 Year Rum, Pierre Ferrand Cognac, Lemon, Peach


After The Gold Rush (John Ottman, Holy Water; 2013)

Old Grand Dad Bonded Bourbon, Pineapple Gum, Lime, Apricot


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