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Drink Here Now: Sample Rare Wines, Taste a Tel-Hi-Tini, and More!

Alexander's Steakhouse Chef Marc Zimmerman serves up a Scotch pairing dinner this Saturday. Photo credit: Natalie Compton

Survived Cinco de Mayo? Now brace your liver for the rest of the month. 

Geek Out Over Obscure Wine Grapes

Ninety-three percent of California's vineyard acreage is devoted to growing a handful of well-known grape varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, and Zinfandel. The remaining seven percent of acreage is planted with an impressive array of grapes you've probably never heard of. This Thursday, May 8, from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m., Folsom Street Foundry plays host to Bergamot Alley's Second Annual Seven % Solution – an after-work tasting event featuring the outliers of California wine grapes. Taste obscure wines from 20 different wineries, such as Arnot Roberts, Broc Cellars, Dirty and Rowdy, Donkey and Goat, and Unti Vineyards. Tickets are available online for $65 per person, which includes all the wines as well as wine-friendly food options from Merigan Sub Shop1425 Folsom Street

Taste of Tel-Hi Wine-Pairing Dinner

What happens when top local restaurants and wineries team up to raise money for a 125-year-old charity? The 12th Annual Taste of Tel-Hi, on Saturday, May 10 from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. This year's fundraiser takes place at the Joe DiMaggio Playground under an elegant white tent and includes an exclusive cocktail reception, three-course dinner paired with wine, and both silent and live auctions. E&O Asian Kitchen, Hard Rock Café, Pier 23 Café, and Scomas will provide hor d'oeuvres, served alongside Pier 23's custom-created Tel-Hi-Tini and wines from Canihan Family Cellars, The Winery SF, Sol Rouge, and the VIE Winery. The three course, seated dinner will be prepared by Chef Matthew Dolan from Twenty Five Lusk and Chef Brandon Peacock from Venticello Ristorante and Nob Hill Cafe.  Each course will be paired with wines provided by Mills Wine Group, Scoma’s, and Wente Vineyards. Tickets are available online for $175 per person. Last year's event raised more than $300,000 for toddlers, youth, families, and seniors in the community. 651 Lombard Street

Steak and Scotch Dinner at Alexander's

If anything goes better with high-end Scotch than a well-marbled steak, it's probably on the menu of The Macallan Dinner – an exclusive five-course Scotch whisky pairing at Alexander's Steakhouse. This Saturday at 6:30 p.m., Chef Marc Zimmerman will be serving up indulgent food pairings designed to highlight the characteristics and flavor of Macallan Scotch. The $185 dinner includes Shigoku Oyster and Caviar with kumquat orange and peach, paired with the lighter citrus, vanilla, and coconut notes of the Macallan 15 Fine Oak; Scottish Whelk, hijiki, oyster leaf, almond, and sake joined by the rich smoky Highland 15 varietal; Veal Sweetbread and Offal with vanilla and lovage alongside the iconic Macallan 18; Wagyu Beef with orange-yuzu marmalade, wild mushrooms, and dried stonefruit punctuated by the Highland Park 15; and Coconut Sponge with charred pineapple and sage rounded out by the Macallan 21 Fine Oak. Macallan Brand Ambassador Kieron Elliot will be in house to discuss the finer points of these fine whiskies. To hold a reservation with a credit card, call 415-495-1111. 448 Brannan Street

Teacher Tuesdays at Rock Bar

Rock Bar is best known as the Front Porch's waiting room, but this low-key dive bar in the lowlands of Bernal Heights boasts a few charms of its own. Every Tuesday, they break out the ping pong table and offer $1 off all drinks for teachers. According to Adam, our favorite Rock Bartender, teachers tend to drink in packs, and their favorite beverage is the Front Porch Rocker, made with "pu-erh," a fermented dark tea from China. Mixed with fresh mint, bourbon, and honey, it makes a tall, refreshing cocktail that brings the teachers back for more. And because Rock Bar is conveniently located across the street from Front Porch, you can have a bucket of southern-fried chicken delivered directly to your table, to share with your favorite teachers. 80 29th Street

Bring Back the Classics at Bix

Tucked away on Gold Alley in Jackson Square, Bix Restaurant and Supper Club has been described as a "civilized speakeasy." Live nightly jazz, plush banquettes, cozy booths, and a mahogany bar provide a fitting backdrop for old school bartenders in jackets, who perfectly concoct classic Manhattans and Martinis behind the bar, and even shake them tableside for seated diners. They're also known for their "new classics" such as The Boxcar with Scotch, Zucca Amaro, honey, and smoked ice. Bix's romantic, two-story interior has been featured in movies, magazines, books, and commercials as the quintessential San Francisco restaurant. The local icon also appears on some of Zagat's Top Lists, including Romantic Tops, Most Popular, Decor Tops, and Date Night Dining. 56 Gold Street

Send drinking suggestions to renee@grassrootspr.com.