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Jordan Mackay

World's Top Wine Writer Gives SF a High Grade on Her West Coast Swing

Two weeks ago, I ran into British wine writer Jancis Robinson on consecutive nights here in San Francisco, first at Spruce and the next night at RN74. I've never been introduced to her, so, yes, I was a little thrilled to see her. (Still never been introduced to her--I left her alone.) If you don't know who she is, she's one of the most important living wine writers.

When Strawberries Meet Bourbon: A Summer Cocktail

Even though we tend to think of whiskey as a sort of winter, warm-me-up-from-the-inside kind of spirit, there's actually a nice tradition of drinking it in the summer, as well.  After all, what else are you going to sip as you while away a sultry summer's eve sitting on your porch watching the world slowly drift by? Then there's also the mint julep to consider along those lines. The fact is that whiskey can make as refreshing and satisfying a summer cocktail as any light spirit like vodka or gin. This quality is only heightened by exloiting the bounty of fresh summer produce available to us.

Don't Call It Sweet: Germain Robin's Absinthe Has No Sugar Added

A couple of weeks ago, I blogged very positively about the new Absinthe from Germain-Robin. I was a little perplexed, therefore, to receive an anguished voicemail from Crispin Cain, who distills the spirit. He was happy with my enthusiastic review, but had one complaint.

I called his absinthe "sweet".

Obama's Bad Taste in Beer Gets the SF Makeover

I mean, seriously. This should be the last post I write on the silly incident of the reconciliatory beers at the White House to sort out this mole hill of a story about Henry Louis Gates Jr., the officer who arrested him, and the president who somehow got involved (are they calling it Beer-gate? Gates-gate?). But I couldn't resist this post thanks to such wonderfully detailed reporting in the Huffington Post that told us what beers all the men were drinking. Let me just say that it ain't pretty. According to the story, "the men were drinking beer from clear glass mugs and munching on peanuts and pretzels served in small silver bowls. The beers:

Naked Lady on a Bike: The Shocking Monterey Wine Label Scandal

I thought I was done writing about cycling and wine when the Tour de France ended on Sunday. But one bike rider is getting even more publicity.

The San Francisco Summer: A Drink Made For the Coldest Winter

People in my hometown of Austin, Texas have been complaining about extended super-hot weather (the extended forecast shows no end for 103 degree highs, ouch!). I can proudly brag to them that today in SF, the high is supposed to be 61 with a low of 52. Um, then again, that's not exactly what anyone would call summer. In fact, last night while I was bartending at Cantina, I fielded an unusual number of orders for Manhattans—a drink that I normally consider a fall/winter drink.

Sips and Gulps: The Latest in Booze News

I had to do this little column just because of all the interesting little newsbits about drinks that turned up over the last couple of days. Here's a rundown.

Bravo! Prosecco Finally Earns Its "G"

You can guess what was being popped in the Prosecco region of Italy this week. The big news is that Prosecco, that ever popular Italian sparkler, earned its "G." That is, it was upgraded by the wine authorities their from a D.O.C rated region (abbreviation for Denominazione di origine controllata) to a DOCG, which adds a "Garantita" to the acronym. What does that mean? Not much to us, really. Technically a DOCG region has more strict controls, lower maximum yields, and the wines have to meet the standards of a tasting committee. But to the Italians making superior Prosecco, the designation is long belated offical acknowledgment of the quality of their product and the legitimacy of their region.

Lots More Beer, Now at Anchor & Hope

Anchor & Hope might look the same, but the restaurant has recently upped the pleasure of drinking there completely by instituting a happy hour, which focuses on a greatly upgraded beer selection (from just a handful of beers on tap to, now, 16). To top this off, the current bottle list features over 65 choices. And all these beers make the delicious happy hour noshes go down easily.

The Green Fairy Goes White: Germain-Robin Absinthe is a Knockout

Last year's absinthe boom yielded some beauts (St. George) and some duds (Pernod). But while the St. George Absinthe was, by a long shot, for me the best of the lot, as Eric Asimov  noted in the Times, it's not for everyone.

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