Few spirits are as divisive as absinthe—the infamous green fairy conjures both sneers from skeptics and delight from devotees. The aromatic, herb-based elixir, which dates back to 18th century Europe, has made a resurgence in the Bay Area in recent years. But, many folks are still too nervous to try the somewhat esoteric drink. Fear not. Here are six local spots that will walk you through it.
With the Super Bowl, Lunar New Year, and Valentine's Day filling our brains and schedules, Mardi Gras (February 9) almost slipped by without us even noticing. There may not be time to stuff yourself with beignets, booze, and beads on a work night, but you can still celebrate Fat Tuesday with a classic NOLA cocktail.
Astute barflies have likely noticed that mezcal has been gaining prominence in Bay Area cocktail spots—the smoky agave drink is often served in the kind of bold concoctions that would put hair on your chest. But lately, we stateside connosseurs have started getting our paws on the good stuff—the small-batch mezcals once kept by family distillers for their personal consumption. Now, we're beginning to appreciate mezcal on its own— unaged, unchilled, and without adornment of salt or lime—just how your abuelo would have wanted it.
It would have been a hoot to eavesdrop on the planning meetings between Martin Cate, owner of the new gin bar Whitechapel which opened this week, and Ignacio “Notch” Gonzalez, the designer who brought the offbeat concept to life.
“I’m Mr. Cinnamon,” grins Joe Cannella, at the Craft Spirits Carnival at Ft. Mason where he was offering samples of his Cannella Cinnamon Cordial. His first batch, made at the Seven Stills Distillery in Dogpatch, sold out shortly after its release late last year. His fourth batch has just been bottled.
You're purusing the list of specialty drinks at a cocktail bar when one in particular stands out. You recognize most of the ingredients, but one is a mystery. What the heck is Becherovka? How does Cynar taste? Once little-used, these liqueurs are now starring on local bar menus. Here are five to try.
Here's to alcohol: the cause of, and answer to, all of life's problems. -Matt Groening