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Bartenders Gush About Their Favorite Food-and-Drink Pairings in SF

Bartenders Gush About Their Favorite Food-and-Drink Pairings in SF

Photo via Nopa's website

When it comes to food and cocktail pairings, who knows better than the men and women who mix drinks for a living? When these bartenders find themselves on the other side of the stick, here is what they think makes the perfect pairing:


Gabriel Low, the Bar Director at Delfina, clearly has a sweet tooth: "My favorite pairing in the city has to be souffle at Range paired with espresso and Nonino Amaro. The soufflé is always served with a small scoop of ice cream.  The perfect way to enjoy this dish is to puncture the soufflés surface, drop in the tiny scoop of ice cream, then add the shot of espresso.  It's like an affogato in an edible cup!"

He also recommends the Mexican Hot Chocolate with Mezcal at Nopa. ”This is delicious enough on it's own, but paired with a platter of their cookies it's absolutely phenomenal."

At Locanda, one of his favorite pairings is the Ciociaria cocktail (amaro, yellow chartreuse, honey, lemon seltzer) with fried olives. “It's the whole sweet and savory combination. Perfect.”

Dion Jardine from The Reform Club, a Sunday-only pop-up at Specchio in the Mission, goes to Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem after a long night of service for the Tatchos and The Mayhem: “Neither the dish, nor the drink is about subtlety, just straight-forward good times. Any time you can sit down to a plate of Tater Tots covered in cheese and meat and chase it with a large glass of rye and Fernet, is bound to be a good time.”

Shaher Misif of Cantina says the red sangria at Don Pisto's in the North Beach “goes awesome with their tacos.”

Kelsea Albrecht’s “number one combination” is a Sazerac and a burger at Nopa, but if she ever had time to sit down at The Presidio Social Club where she works, she would order the 32 oz. cowboy-cut rib eye for two and pair it with the 100 Reasons Rye, a combination of rye whiskey, Punt e Mes, Cointreau, and orange bitters that has been aged in oak barrels for two weeks.

Jacob Farleigh of Dio Deka in Los Gatos, says the Rye Gin Old Fashioned and chopped liver on toast at Bar Agricole is “slammin'.”