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cocktails

Orson: Six Months In

 

After months of traveling and nose-to-the-grindstone work, I finally made it to Orson, only about six months after it opened. Considering that restaurant critics don't even give new joints the customary two-month lag before reviewing them anymore, my tardiness could be seen as more than genteel. Anyway, I wasn't going in to review it but to enjoy it. And, largely, that's what I did.

Brooke Arthur: She's Back and Better Than Ever



Well, she's been back for a while, but I never made a note of it. If you remember, I posted back in January about Range bartender Brooke Arthur, who was injured with smoke inhalation in an apartment fire back on New Year's Eve. Well, after several long months of recuperation, she returned first to the city and, a couple of months ago, then to her job.

New Orleans Report: A Spirited Dinner at August

Thursday night, I was fortunate enough to have wrangled an invitation to one of the many spirited dinners going on throughout town, in which fine food and cocktails were paired on a fixed menu. Then my good fortune continued as I was able to end up at a table with Jen Colliau (sorry about the blur) of the Slanted Door, John Santer of Beretta, and Jill Santer of Laszlo. Always nice to dine amongst friends in a distant place . . .

New Orleans Report: A Happy Hour to End All Happy Hours

One night at Tales of the Cocktail, there was a massive walk-around happy hour. Bars and bartenders from everywhere had various tables and attendees were free to just stroll around and sample the wares, as I did with fellow SF writer Rebecca Chapa. There must have been at least 50 different drinks to choose from in the crowded and raucous room.

Naturally I was thrilled and surprised to encounter Martin Cate (below), the brilliant tiki mind behind Alameda's Forbidden Island, with his own table, pouring one of the best drinks of the evening.

New Orleans Report: The Hit Restaurant, Cochon

The hit restaurant of the festival was Cochon. It seemed to be where everyone was going all the time. With its slightly elevated down-home Cajun cuisine, Cochon represented a pinnacle of well-executed but un-gussied greatness. It was where I went within 30 minutes of getting to my hotel. Scott Beattie of Cyrus fame went with me, and we ran into Amanda Washington, a bartender at Rye along the way (the Big Easy was so loaded with SF bartenders that, wherever you went, you couldn't swivel your head without seeing at least two or three).

Clock Bar: The Return of Marco

(Or, why I'm excited about the opening of the Michael Mina's Clock Bar in the Westin St. Francis)


Americano Cocktail: The Patriot's Refuge



In the spirit of Independence Day, I want to remind you of a incredibly simple, delicious and often forgotten cocktail with a patriotic name: the Americano. Now, it's not so much a Born-in-the-USA kind of thing, as it doesn't actually use any American ingredients. Rather, it's Italian in conception and components, joining equal parts Campari and sweet vermouth. Originally, the drink was known as the Milano-Torino, since Campari is from the former and Cinzano vermouth is from the latter. But it got renamed when locals noticed that visiting Americans seemed particularly smitten by the cocktail.

Epic Roasthouse: Camber Lay is Back



I'd been meaning for some time to get over to Epic Roasthouse to try the cocktails of the illustrious Camber Lay, who made a name for herself at Frisson back in the day. As long as I've known her, Camber has been one of the most inventive bartenders in the city, daringly combining disparate ingredients, playing with things like vinegar and unusual rims.

Plymouth Gin Pour Off, Part 2

Photography by Mayaan Ben-Artzi

Wow, that was one dark video. I can assure you that things (including me) looked much better in real life--nothing became that pixelated until much later in the night.


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