Skip to Navigation Skip to Content


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.

Gin and Tonics: The Great Tonic Showdown

One of the recent warm evenings, I decided to pit the two boutique tonic waters now on the market head-to-head. Fever-Tree has been available for more than a year, but Q is just coming into the market and I was sent a sample last week.

Both are trying to make the experience of that classic drink, the gin and tonic, better by improving the oft-neglected role of the mixer. Fever-Tree is made in England, with ingredients sourced from around the world. Q is made, best I can tell, in New York. The gin?

Martinis: Shaken V. Stirred

The science in this article, which claims that a shaken martini has a measurable advantage in salubriousness over a stirred one, seems highly dubious to me. The article recaps the findings of some British scientists (who probably have too much time on their hands) reviewing research done in 1999 by some Canadian ones (who definitely have too much time on their hands):

A Cucumber Vodka Cocktail: The Watermelon Refresher

Cucumber, perhaps my favorite vegetable, is the supreme food for summer. Light, crisp, a mixture of sweet and bitter, cucumber is just made for eating … and drinking. As my colleague Sara Deseran pointed out last week in her Bits and Bites posting, Square One, the locally masterminded organic vodka company, has just released its cucumber-flavored vodka, and it's a winner. Normally, I don't get particularly excited about flavored vodkas, but this one is novel and very well made.

Tony Abou-Ganim's Cable Car: A Signature SF Drink

Last night was the kick-off event for cocktail week. It took place at the Starlight Room, where many of SF's best and brightest (like Marco Dionysus, pictured here) got behind the bar, making drinks for the masses.

Daily Newsletters

Essential SF knowledge in your inbox