Drink Here Now: Watermelon Beer Toss, Spanish Happy Hour, and More


It's never too hot for a cold adult beverage.

Drink Cava with Spanish Wine & Food Author

If this week's hot weather makes you want to go drink in a cave, make your way to the Castro this weekend for the next best thing: cava. This Spanish sparkling wine is aged in caves for a minimum of nine months and produced using the champenoise method, which means the effervescence is produced by secondary fermentation in the bottle. Canela Bistro and Wine Bar is hosting a Cava, Conversation, and Book Signing event this Saturday afternoon with Joyce Goldstein, author of three cookbooks, including Tapas: Sensational Small Plates from Spain. The intimate affair begins at 2:00 p.m. with a tasting of tapas and cava. At 2:30, Goldstein and Chef Mat Schuster will discuss the growing popularity and influence of Spanish food. A Q&A and book signing will follow. Space is limited; reservations can be made by email at rsvp@afandco.com. 2272 Market St.

Spanish Happy Hour at Gitane

Now that you've developed a crush on cava and tapas, you can continue exploring Spanish food and beverages at Gitane, located in the very European alleyway known as Claude Lane. Every Monday through Saturday from 5:00 p.m. until closing time, Gitane offers three complimentary rotating food offerings when you order wine, beer, cocktails, or house-made sangria. Expect snacks such as Fried Smelt with Lemon Aioli, House Marinated Stuffed Olives, and Bacalao Fritters. New cocktails on the menu include the Niche Nieble with vodka, bergamot, and sage; the Gitane Gin Y Tonica with 209 Gin, housemade quinine tonic, and soda water; and the Casa Blanca, made from Gin infused with tumeric and pink peppercorns, Luxardo Maraschino, and lime. 6 Claude Lane

Cabernet Cook-off at HALL Wines

When chefs from San Francisco and Napa Valley team up to compete for charity in the annual HALL Cabernet Cook-off, everyone wins. Last year, the event drew 480 culinary and wine lovers, raising $30,000 for four local charities. This year's event, slated for Sunday, May 18 from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., features an all-star line-up of 15 chef teams participating in a culinary pairing challenge. Teams will compete for their chosen local charity by creating small bite dishes paired with HALL 2010 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and judged by industry judges. Guests will also be invited to taste the farm-to-table dishes and vote for their favorite for the People's Choice Award. 100% of ticket sales ($65/person) benefit local charities. 401 St. Helena Hwy., South St. Helena

Art of the Modern Drink at the Farmer's Market

Next Wednesday, 13 local bartenders will turn cocktail glasses into canvasses for artistic mixed drinks inspired by SFMOMA's collection of modern art. Their palette? The spring bounty of the Farmers Market. Stroll through the Ferry Building's Grand Hall, tasting signature cocktails and hors d'oeuvres offered amongst replicas of the art that inspired the bartenders and chefs to make them. For $45, guests can enjoy two full-size cocktails and 11 sample-size drinks, hors d'oeuvres, games, and a photo booth. Organized by CUESA and the SF Chapter of the US Bartenders Guild, the party starts at 5:30 on May 21. Tickets are available online.

Annual Watermelon Toss at 21st Amendment

The calendar may say it's still Spring, but 21st Amendment Brewery is all set to welcome summer - and the release of Hell or High Watermelon Wheat beer - on Wednesday, May 21. The fruity beer fest starts at 4:00 p.m. with the ceremonial tossing of the watermelon off the roof of the pub and continues until the last drop of watermelon wheat beer is poured from a freshly-carved watermelon. Until then, party-goers can partake in watermelon beer can chicken, fried cheese curds, live music, and summertime revelry. 563 2nd Street

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