Drink Here Now: World Gin Day, Sherryfest, and North Beach Beer Gardens


If you can't find a reason to raise a glass this week, you're not looking hard enough.

Continental Cocktails at the Warwick

You don't have to be a tourist to enjoy the stunning renovation at the Warwick San Francisco. The recently transformed, historic hotel includes a 35-seat neighborhood bar and lounge called The European. True to its name, the new drinking venue's menu is anchored in classic European drinking traditions common during the Prohibition era, and updated for the modern palate. The Violet Fizz brings together gin, raspberry, cream, and seltzer, while the Aperol Kick is a lively mixture of Aperol, gin, sparkling wine, and seltzer. The European is a sophisticated combination of Campari, grapefruit, lemon, seltzer, and gum syrup. We recommend the "Now and Then" pairing, which features a contemporary cocktail served alongside a taste of the original drink, in its vintage form. The European's drinks are offered with a bar-exclusive menu of American-inspired bar bites, featuring Chicken Skin "Chips" with charred onion, smoked eggplant and trout roe, as well as House-made "SPAM" with black grape jelly on Texas toast. The European is open Sunday through Thursday from 4:00 p.m. to midnight and from 5:00 to 11:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. 490 Geary Street

Train for World Gin Day at Brasserie S&P

It's only fitting that a juniper-based spirit would be celebrated in June. World Gin Day is this Saturday, June 14, and you've got a lot of gin to drink between now and then to prepare yourself for the big day. All week long, Brasserie S&P in the Mandarin Oriental hotel is offering a special selection of gin cocktails and flights to help you with your training. Choose from two gin tasting flights for $15, shaken and served in mini-martini glasses. The San Francisco flight features Junipero, No. 209 and Bummer & Lazarus gins. The Organic flight features Tru, Farmer's, and Death's Door. Special, gin-forward cocktails for $13 include the Springtime Collins made with Broker's gin, celery-infused simple syrup, lemon juice, and club soda; the Spicy Pine with St. George Terroir, Thai chili simple syrup, lemon, and hibiscus tea; and The Grey Ox, a top-shelf greyhound made with Oxley gin that is already proving popular with the ladies. On World Gin Day, you can choose from three frozen gin pops on a stick: basil-lime gimlet with Florasian gin, strawberry lemonade with Broker's, and watermelon-mint with Botanist. 222 Sansome Street

North Beach Festival's Five Beverage Gardens

Whether you're perusing an Italian Street Painting, attending the Blessing of the Animals, browsing the 125+ arts and crafts vendors, or satisfying your hunger from more than 20 gourmet food booths, one thing will always be true at the 60th Annual North Beach Festival: you'll never be far from a beer garden. This weekend, San Francisco's own Little Italy will be host to five strategically-placed beer and wine gardens dotted along Columbus, Green, and Grant Streets. Start at the Broadway and Columbus beer garden to take in the iconic view of the Transamerica Pyramid. Then stumble up Columbus to find two more beer gardens within two blocks. Turn right on Green to find the open-air Green Street garden, featuring live, local music from North Beach bands. Then, take a left onto Grant and make your way to the Vesuvio-style beverage garden at Filbert & Grant, where old-school spoken word will pay homage to the neighborhood's beatnik past. The North Beach Festival is free and open to the public from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, rain or shine. Bring cash for food and beverages. Bicycle parking is available at Grant and Green.

Sherryfest West Features Dinners, Seminars

Sherry has an unfortunate reputation as your grandmother's wine, which has always made us feel a bit sorry for her. But now that Sherry has her own festival, she doesn't need our pity. Sherryfest West, slated for Tuesday, June 17 through Friday, June 20, will include four Sherry-pairing dinners, four Sherry-centric seminars, and a Masterclass about palo cortado, the rare and mysterious sherry, said to simply "occur" rather than being deliberately made. Prices vary for the three-day series of events, which are hosted by 18 Reasons, Bar Agricole, Central Kitchen, Trou Normand, and St. Vincent Tavern and Wine Merchant. The Sherryfest Grand Tasting on Wednesday, June 18 at Bluxome Street Winery will feature 140 unique sherries from 21 different sherry houses; pre-registration is required. Tickets are available online for individual Sherryfest events, ranging in price from $30 to $130 per person. Various locations in SF

Mortar & Pestle Joins Curry Up Now for Drinks

Taming the spice of Indian street food is a job for something mightier than water. Now that Mortar & Pestle has set up shop at Curry Up Now in the Mission, patrons can soothe their singed tongues with low-proof cocktails, wine-based aperitifs, spritzers, sangrias, and shandys. The name Mortar and Pestle is derived from the tools used by co-founder Nick Kosevich and Ira Koplowitz to make craft bitters for their bar consulting firm, Bittercube. Their signature cocktails will be reasonably priced from $6 to $9, to track the pricing structure of Curry Up Now, which offers a full menu of dishes for under $12. Craft beer is available for $5 to $8. Wines by the glass cost $6 to $10. Indian-inspired craft bottled sodas include Cardamom-Raspberry Rickey and Mango Chai Soda. A 100-inch projector screen displays soccer, rugby, cricket and field hockey, as well as NFL, NHL, NBA, and MLB games. When the matches are over, get ready for international movie night, with a heavy rotation of Bollywood. 659 Valencia Street

Send drinking suggestions to renee@grassrootspr.com.

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