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What I Learned on My Cocktail Cruise


Cantina's Tropic of Sazerac.

The kick-off of the first ever San Francisco Cocktail Week was last Monday night and went like this: a handful of great bartenders, writers and semi-professional drinkers rode a bus (yes, really) to various bars around the city. We sampled the wares at Elixir (the Corpse Reviver No. 2 and the Eldersour being the libations of choice), rode the bus down to Distillery No. 209, where we toured the “botanical room,” checked out the still and sipped an icy Tom Collins, got back on the bus and headed uptown to the Alembic, slurped a mint julep (in its signature silver glass), drove downtown for an exclusive preview of the barely opened Cantina and then, exhausted, hailed a cab.


Yes sir, we have no.....

Well, that’s when I hailed a cab. But from what I hear, the party rolled on—stops after my departure included a visit to Rye and a final nightcap at Bourbon & Branch. In other words, I bailed out early. But I can report that this is a special city for cocktails, and all the bartenders spoke of a real sense of community among the industry folk. As one bartender said of other bars and their tenders, “we keep each other on our toes.” And that translates to good drinking for the rest of us.

The week of cocktail appreciation comes to a dramatic conclusion next Monday, May 21st, at a gala event at Absinthe. Guest bartender Gary Regan, author of The Joy of Mixology, will be slinging drinks, along with the rest of the crew. Should be a fine celebration of one of the great and unique things about this city—to order tickets contact Vanessa Harris at Absinthe (vharris@absinthe.com) or call (415) 551-1453.