The list is finally out! Every year, the James Beard Foundation recognizes excellence in the food industry. But this year, this is an exiting new addition: This is the first year the James Beard Foundation is recognizing outstanding bar programs. Campari is sponsoring the new award category, which recognizes excellence in wine, spirits, and beer.
Saturday, February 25, 2012
I should pause and note that this picture is actually somewhat significant.
Friday, February 24, 2012
In other words, the bar will serve lots of New Orleans style stirred drinks. We asked to sample and a few drinks of that style, and, holy moly, are we excited for this place to open up.
De La Louisiane
3/4 ounce Rye, Sweet Vermouth, and Benedictine
Stir stir stir, garnish with Luxardo Cherry.
I loved this drink. It was quite rich, syrupy and sweet as it first hits your tongue. Once the benedictine passes, though, the herbs from the vermouth and absinthe kick in, leaving a strong finish of rye and a lingering taste of herbs. This is a very rich, slow drink. Order it if you want to sit and enjoy the conversation for awhile, not if you're in a rush. It's best enjoyed slowly.
Erik described the Dixie cocktail as essentially a whiskey cocktail but with the addition of creme de menthe. This creme de menthe:
This drink really took us by surprise. It was lighter in texture and slightly brighter than the De La Louisiane but no less flavorful. Look how beautiful this drink is, especially with the perfect piece of ice:
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Learning about Charles Phan's and Erik Adkin's new Embarcadero restaurant had the curious effect of making Josh and me very excited and very thirsty. And so we found ourselves, only moments later, dashing down to The Slanted Door, one of Mr. Phan's and Mr. Adkin's tried, true, and institutionalized restaurants in the Ferry Building. After all, we wanted to end the three-day weekend on a celebratory mood.
Monday, February 20, 2012
Holy moly! San Francisco cocktail world, rejoice! We're about to witness a supernova.
Earlier I had mentioned that the super fantastic Erik Adkins was stepping back from managing the cocktail menu at Heaven's Dog to usher in the super talented Trevor, formerly of Rickhouse. And now I'm wondering whether it has anything to do with this happy piece of news: Charles Phan (famous proprietor of Slanted Door, Wu Hing General Store, Out the Door, and Heaven's Dog) is opening a new spot on Pier 3 on The Embarcadero—and the restaurant and its food are all centered around Erik's drinks, as Eater SF reports!
Details are few, but the restaurant is set to feature Creole food to compliment a "creative seasonal cocktail program," describes Eater SF.
I could not be more excited.
One of the distinguishing marks of San Francisco cocktail culture is that much of it is invested in food establishments. Restaurants, it seems, have an easier time acquiring liquor licenses or taking over places that already have them, and so you have a frequent interplay between food and cocktails. But I am incredibly excited to see what happens when cocktails take centerstage, and the food follows—and led by one of the most awesome bartenders.
It's going to be a great year for cocktails.
Thursday, February 16, 2012
Josh and I have been going to the SOMA spot ever since it opened in 2009. Opened by Charles Phan of Slanted Door fame, the restaurant features some kind of Chinese American fare—fancy xiaolongbao, onion pancakes, spicy dumplings, and other “high-end” stir-frys. But what keeps us coming back are the cocktails. Originally managed by the incredible Erik Adkins—who is not only super talented but also the nicest guy in the world—the cocktails always took on his attention to detail, refined classics with high-quality ingredients. We recently learned that Trevor, former bar manager of Rickhouse, has since moved over to Heaven’s Dog, which is great since Rickhouse is another city favorite.
We noticed that Trevor had made a new cocktail menu. Looks yum!
I started with a Nothing But the Brave, a stiff cocktail featuring armagnac, lemon juice, All Spice, and Ginger.
And Josh had the Oaxacan Firing Squad. The drink really became the star of the night, with its savory, smokey mix of Mezcal, lime, Small Hands grenadine, and angostura. Delicious! (Sorry for the dim photo—the place was so dark at first.)
We ended our happy our by splitting a Yankee Clipper, a crisp way to end our happy hour with Beefeater gin, carpano antica, Luxardo, orange bitters, and absinthe.
1148 Mission St.
San Francisco, CA 94103