All of the Boxing Room's Cocktails, Premiering Tonight in San Francisco
February 06, 2015
The Boxing Room is a New Orleans-themed restaurant that is part of the Absinthe Group, but until tonight they've not had a hard liquor license. Johnny Raglin, long-time Absinthe bartender/manager and for the last couple years co-running the show at Comstock Saloon, has put together the new menu.
All the drinks save one are New Orleans cocktails, created there or in the case of the Pimm's Cup, consumed heavily there. People who have been drinking in NOLA will recognize a few clever connections: The Sazerac glass is reminiscent in design of the big bucket glasses you get the drink in there, and the Pimm's Cup collins glass has the frosted outside just like it does at the Napoleon House.
There are nine drinks on the menu, plus a house shot. The Obituary Cocktail, according to Raglin, was invented in New Orleans, possibly at Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop. And as wonderful as that bar is, you certainly wouldn't want to ask for one there now. It's basically a Martini with a splash of absinthe and is their only drink served in a cocktail glass.
The French 75 is one of two drinks on the menu that gives you the choice of base spirit, in this case gin (Beefeater) or cognac (Camus). They'll serve it in what looks like a small hurricane glass on a tall stem. They're putting a single Kold Draft cube in the drink to keep it cool longer, though they're also freezing many of their glasses including this one so the drinks are as cold as you wish they were in New Orleans.
The Drive-Thru Daiquiri is a frozen Daiquiri. They make the drink with rum (Denizen) and a housemade lime cordial. This cordial isn't merely lime zest, sugar, and water, though those are in there: It also includes fresh lime juice and some rum to help preserve it. Raglin says that despite having fresh lime juice in it, the cordial stays at optimum tastiness between 12 hours and 3 days after being made.
The Hurricane also includes a house syrup, this one from passionfruit. It's fruit-forward with a long-lasting juicy finish. The garnish, the wind-blown cocktail umbrella, is a traditional Hurricane garnish. Raglin consulted friends at nearby Smuggler's Cove on such important issues like garnishes and whether or not adding bitters disqualifies a drink from being tiki.
The Pimm's Cup, as mentioned, is served in a frosted collins glass in tribute to the way it's served at the Napoleon House. Instead of ginger ale/beer as a base for the drink, Raglin wanted a bitter lemon soda as is customary in England. He did a taste test and found the new Bundaberg Lemon Lime Bitters to be ideal. But what makes the drink truly unique is the addition of his house-made chicory bitters.
For the Ramos Gin Fizz, Raglin pulls back on the citrus and makes a milkier version with a touch of house-made vanilla extract.
The Vieux Carre and the Sazerac stick pretty close to the standard versions. The Vieux Carre is served on the rocks, while the Sazerac is served in a thin juice glass meant to remind one of the heavy bucket glasses of NOLA. Its strawberry-red color really shines therein. When the drink debuts at the bar tonight, it will be served in a slightly different glass - he had a decorative etching put on all the glassware by the folks at Reclamation Etchworks.
The Milk Punch is served in a milkshake glass. It comes in your choice of bourbon or cognac, and despite my usual preference for brandy cocktails I think the bourbon (Four Roses) version is better.
Finally, the house shot: The Shot-O-Sasparilla. Ragin says he believes every bar should have a house shot. Here it's Jeremiah Weed's Sarsparilla whiskey from a shot chiller machine, topped with a beer foam and served in an adorable little mini mug shot glass.
So that's that. Boxing Room reopens after a slight remodel and all-new cocktail list tonight.
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