Dark, brooding, stiff drinks are what get us through the winter, especially those made with bourbon and rye, and maybe with a Fernet chaser. But now that spring is here, it's time to set aside the Sazeracs and bust out the fruit and herbs. This week, back at the mothership (New York Mag), they're featuring 107 cocktails from around New York City arranged by color, as in ROYGBIV. We thought we'd do the same, and show you 25 of the most colorful potent potables San Francisco has to offer, including at least one blue curacao concoction from a certain Tiki bar where they aren't too proud or too fancy to use blue curacao. Please enjoy this kaleidoscopic bar crawl, and if you're still just barely buzzed when it's over, check out parallel slideshows from our friends in Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, and Philly.
246 Kearny Street; 415.398.2827
In a shaker, lightly muddle 3 raspberries (or 1 large strawberry) and 3 to 4 basil leaves with 1 oz. lemon juice. Add two ounces gin or vodka, and 3/4 oz. simple syrup. Shake with ice and double-strain into a an old-fashioned glass or tumbler, over ice.
Wilson & Wilson
505 Jones Street; 415.931.7292
Combine 1 1/2 oz. cacao-infused Campari (recipe follows), 1 1/2 oz. sweet vermouth, 1/2 oz blood orange syrup (recipe follows), 1/2 oz. lemon juice, and 3/4 oz. orange juice and shake vigorously with ice. Strain over ice in a tall glass, and top with 1 oz. club soda.
Cacao-Infused Campari: Combine 1 cup raw cacao nibs with one bottle Campari in a large bowl or sealable container, cover and allow to steep for two to three days. Strain back into Campari bottle for serving.
Blood Orange Syrup: Combine 3 cups fresh blood orange juice and 9 tablespoons sugar with 1 1/2 tablespoons grated blood orange peel in a pan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until mixture is reduced by about half. Cover and refrigerate.
Hibiscus Rum Punch
650 Gough Street; 415.869.1900
Combine 1 1/2 oz. Appleton Estate reserve rum, 1 oz. spiced hibiscus liqueur (substitute 1 oz. Fruit Lab Crism Hibiscus liqueur and 1 dash Angostura bitters), 1/2 oz. lime juice, and 1/4 oz. simple syrup with ice. Shake and strain over ice in a tall glass. Garnish with a candied hibiscus flower (available at WildHibiscus.com).
335 Powell Street (at the Westin St. Francis); 415.397.9222
In a shaker, muddle 3 slices of fresh kiwi with 1/4 oz. lemon juice. Add 1 1/2 oz. Knob Creek bourbon, 3/4 oz. blood orange juice, 1/4 oz. Nocino, 1/4 oz. Amaro Nonino, and 1/8 oz. Benedictine. Shake vigorously with ice, and double-strain over ice in a chilled rocks glass or tumbler. Top with club soda or kiwi soda if available, and garnish with kiwi and brandied cherry.
300 Spear Street; 415.247.7770
Combine 2 oz. blanco tequila with 1/2 oz. St. Germain, 1/2 oz. strawberry-mint shrub (recipe follows), 1 oz. lime juice, and a splash of orange juice and shake vigorously with ice. Double-strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a mint leaf.
Strawberry-Mint Shrub: This recipe comes from local startender Neyah White, formerly of Nopa, hence the name of the cocktail. Combine 2 cups each of cut strawberries, cane sugar, and white wine vinegar with one bunch fresh mint and a palm-full of black peppercorns. Macerate the strawberries into the liquid, stir well, and let sit at room temperature for two weeks or more. Strain well for use in cocktails.
130 Townsend Street; 415.227.0500
In a shaker, muddle 4 pieces of red bell pepper (cut into thick squares) with 4 slices of cucumber, 3 dashes Angostura bitters, and 1/2 oz. lemon juice. Add 1 1/2 oz. Herradura Reposado, and 3/4 oz. agave nectar. Shake with ice and strain into a tall glass over ice. Top with ginger beer and garnish with a cucumber and a bell pepper slice. Optionally, you can also rim the glass with a mixture of sugar, salt, and crushed red pepper flakes.
155 Columbus Avenue; 415.617.0071
Combine 2 oz. bourbon, 3/4 oz. lemon juice, 1/4 oz. simple syrup, and 3/4 oz. juice from a jar of brandied cherries. Add 2 dashes Angostura bitters and shake vigorously with ice. Strain into a cocktail glass over ice and garnish with brandied cherries.
[Editor's Note: Comstock bartender Johnny Raglin relays the story that this cocktail goes back to Colonial America, and perhaps further. It appears among recipes in the collection of Martha Washington, and was a bottled beverage available around her time. It later was revived as a cocktail in the 1940s by a Los Angeles bartender.]
Summer in the City
252 California Street; 415.397.9222
Combine 1 1/2 oz. apple-infused gin (recipe follows) with 1 oz. dry Riesling, 1/2 oz. Cocchi Americano, and 1/2 oz. Tempus Fugit Liqueur Violette. Stir all ingredients with ice and strain into a coupe glass or dessert wine glass. Garnish with a nasturtium or other edible flower.
Apple-Infused Gin: Combine one bottle gin and two sliced apples in a large bowl or sealable container. Cover and let steep for a week or more.
Hog & Rocks
3431 19th Street; 415.550.8627
Combine 2 oz. Coruba rum, 2 oz. lemon juice, and 2 oz. passion fruit syrup (recipe follows). Quickly shake together or blend all ingredients and pour over ice in a "hurricane" glass or tall rocks glass. Serve with a paper umbrella turned inside-out.
Passion Fruit Syrup: Combine 1 cup simple syrup with 1 cup Funkin passion fruit purée, or similar.
417 Stockton Street, in the Crescent Hotel; 415.400.0500
In a shaker combine 1 3/4 oz. Reposado tequila, 1/2 oz. Aperol, 1/2 oz. Combier, 3/4 oz. grapefruit juice, and 1/2 oz. lemon juice. Shake vigorously with ice and strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with a grapefruit peel.
557 Valencia Street; 415.863.6800
Combine 3/4 oz. bourbon, 3/4 oz. Amaro Nonino, 3/4 oz. Aperol, and 3/4 oz. lemon juice and shake with ice. Strain into a coupe glass.
La Nuestra Paloma
1199 Valencia Street; 415.695.1199
Combine 2 oz. tequila, 1 oz. lime juice, 3/4 oz. St. Germain, 3/4 oz. Cointreau, 1/2 oz. grapefruit juice, and 3 dashes Angostura bitters with ice. Shake and strain into a tall glass over ice. Top with 2 oz. soda. Garnish with a grapefruit peel.
1725 Haight Street; 415.666.0822
Combine 3/4 oz. London dry gin (like Beefeater), 3/4 oz. yellow chartreuse, and 3 drops of orange flower water. Stir with ice, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Top with 2 oz. sparkling wine (they use Gruet demi-sec), and top with a sprinkle of gold dust (available at pastry supply stores).
2124 Market Street; 415.503.0630
Combine 1 1/2 oz. Batavia Arrack rum, 1/2 oz. Dolin dry vermouth, 1 oz. green tea, 1/2 oz. lime juice, and 1 dash Angostura bitters. Shake with ice and strain into a coupe glass.
Gin & Celery
3121 16th Street (in back of Dalva); 415.252.7740
Combine 1 1/2 oz. Hayman's Old Tom gin, 3/4 oz. lemon juice, 1/2 oz. simple syrup, and 4 dashes celery bitters, and shake with ice. Put a pinch of salt into the bottom of a lowball glass or tumbler, add ice, and strain cocktail mixture over, topping with 1 oz. soda. Garnish with a lemon twist.
355 11th Street; 415.355.9400
In a tumbler or old fashioned glass, gently muddle a quarter-sized piece of lime rind with a barspoon of cane syrup from Martinique. Add 2 oz. white rhum agricole, and one large ice cube. Stir, and serve.
Brick & Bottle
55 Tamal Vista Boulevard, Corte Madera; 415.924.3366
In a shaker, gently muddle 3 to 4 basil leaves with 3/4 oz. lime juice. Add 1/2 oz. simple syrup and 1 3/4 oz. Plymouth gin, and skake with ice. Double strain into a cocktail glass, garnished with a lime wheel.
Day of the Dolphin
Pier 5; 415.839.2134
Combine 2 oz. white rum, 1 oz. chartreuse, and 1/2 oz. Pagés Absinthe with ice and stir. Strain into a cocktail glass.
842 Valencia Street; 415.282.8283
Combine 2 oz. 209 gin, 1/2 oz. lime juice, 1/2 oz. verjus (or unsweetened white grape juice), and 1 oz. tarragon-mint syrup (recipe follows) with ice, and shake vigorously. Strain into a tumbler over ice.
Tarragon-Mint Syrup: In a blender, combine 1 bunch each of tarragon and mint with 1 1/2 cups simple syrup. Adjust flavor to taste with more or less tarragon or syrup.
950 Mason Street (in the Fairmont Hotel); 415.772.5278
Combine 1 oz. light rum, 1 oz. blue curacao, 2 oz. pineapple juice, and 1 oz. cream of coconut in a shaker with ice. Strain over crushed ice in a tall glass, and garnish with a pineapple slice.
[Editor's Note: While we don't exactly endorse the blue curacao thing, this rainbow concept kind of necessitated it. And the Tonga Room's always a good time.]
580 Sutter Street; 415.398.0195
In a shaker, muddle 6 blueberries with 1/2 oz simple syrup. Add 2 oz. Campo de Encanto pisco, 1 oz. lemon juice, and shake with ice. Strain into a tall glass over ice with fresh blueberries as garnish. Top with 2 oz. ginger beer.
6 Claude Lane; 415.788.6686
In a shaker, muddle 5 slices of strawberry with 3 slices of cucumber and 2 mint leaves with 1 oz. Pimm's No. 1. Add 1 oz. dry red wine, and shake vigorously with ice. Strain into a wine glass or tall glass over ice, and top with ginger beer. Garnish with cucumber slices and a mint sprig.
490 Pacific Avenue; 415.775.8508
In a shaker, muddle 4 slices of blood orange. Add 1 oz. mezcal, 1 oz. Carpano Antica, and 1 oz. Leopold Bros. Mountain Blackberry Liqueur. Shake vigorously with ice, and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lime twist.
826 Folsom Street; 415.348.8800
Combine 1 1/2 oz. Flor de Cana 4 year rum, 1 oz. blackberry cordial (recipe follows), 3/4 oz. lemon juice, and 1/2 oz. turbinado-sugar-based simple syrup. Shake vigorously over ice and strain into a wine glass, over ice. Top with 3/4 oz. lambrusco wine.
Blackberry Cordial: Steep one basket muddled blackberries with 3 cups dark rum and 1 cup black tea for three days to one week. Strain before using.
8 Mint Plaza; 415.896.6500
Combine 2 oz. gin, 1/2 oz. lemon juice, and 2 teaspoons maraschino liqueur (such as Luxardo) and shake vigorously with ice. Strain into a coupe glass and float 1/4 oz. creme de violette. Garnish with a lemon twist.
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