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Jordan Mackay

Italy's Finest

When I say “Italy’s Finest,” I'm not talking about the Carbinieri, Italy's state police force that’s the butt of many jokes (e.g. "Why do Carabinieri always work in pairs? Because one knows how to read, the other how to write").

Not long ago, I attended a couple of tastings featuring Italy's finest wines—the ones you don't get to taste every day, but are worth writing about when you do.


Big Beer Phenomenon

A few months ago, I wrote “Drink Big” about the very large, German-style glasses at the beer and sausage hangout, Gestalt. And now, I’m here to tell you about another, entirely different sort of place where you can get more extra-large beers—Osha Thai.


Cidre



That's how the French say "cider," and it was in France where I learned about this beverage that I still love. Traveling with my parents as a teenager, I was not allowed to drink much with them, besides a taste of wine or beer. But sometimes the rules were lifted when it came to cider, which I quickly learned to enjoy for its dryness, essence of apple flavor, bubbles and, yes, the little buzz.

Your Hardworking Sommeliers

Last Saturday night, a group of sommeliers gathered together for what is a unique San Francisco tradition--the late-night sommelier blind tasting.

That our hardworking restaurant wine professionals will bother to assemble at midnight on a Saturday—each bearing a bottle or two of expensive, classic wine to give to his or her comrades blind—for the purpose of learning and understanding is admirable.


Paul and his sister, Noah, Allen and Jean-Laurent Vacheron                           

Classic Crunch Cocktail with a Twist

Here is a version I created of a classic drink: the Champagne Cocktail. This one employs blackberries, which I quartered and marinated in Cointreau for a half hour. The rest is just as simple.



Champagne Cocktail

Drop a sugar cube into the bottom of a Champagne flute
Drench it with several dashes of Angostura bitters
Top with Champagne or some other sparkling wine
Drop in a few blackberries

It’s a good drink for brunch—that is, if you're not nursing a hangover with a Bloody Mary.

Two-Buck Gold

Speaking of competitions, this absurd and alarming story will be generating waves throughout the wine world.

Two-Buck Chuck, aka Charles Shaw, Chardonnay—famous for being one of the cheapest wines in the world—won the gold medal for best Chardonnay at the State Commercial Wine Competition in Sacramento. It was voted in a blind competition by a panel of wine industry professionals.

A Taste of Some of the Other Drinks

Now that you know the winner, here’s my take on the other drinks. Stay tuned for the official recipes, to be posted over the next few days.


H.

H. from Elixir infused his vodka with chai and added fresh strawberry and lychee liqueur to make an extremely complex and surprising drink. 


Alberta

Bottle Service Success




photos by Matthew Knudsen

As you know, the 7x7 Bottle Service Pour-Off went down last night, and I think most people would agree that it was a rousing success. Sip Lounge is a great space with a great vibe, especially when it's filled with so many good people there to cheer on their favorite bartenders.

Reminder for Monday



Kissui Vodka: the required ingredient

The field of bartenders is set and includes some of the city's best, and the favorites that you voted for:

•  Cantina's Duggan McD
•  H.  from Elixir
•  Jackie P. from Le Colonial
•  Amanda from Rye
•  Tim Stookey from Presidio Social Club

The Globe Theatre

Though I've written about him before, it's never enough. So a late-night jones for a pizza and a cocktail the other night afforded us an excuse to stop by the bar at Globe to see our friend Shane McKnight. Part serious mixologist, part host, part clown, he and his beverages always comprise an engaging two-ring circus.


Shane
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