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Historic Cocktails Tour of SF: History in a Glass

San Francisco bartenders were treated to a unique experience a couple of weeks ago: the first (that we know of) SF historical cocktail tour. It was sponsored by Plymouth Gin and Simon Ford (the brand's ambassador; below, at left) and conducted by Dave Wondrich (below, right), the undisputed authority on American cocktail history and author of Imbibe.


Charlie Palmer, Pigs & Pinot Noir


One of the country's most celebrated chefs lives in
our own back yard.

St. Patrick's Day: Green Beer for All





Green beer. Everyone makes fun of me for having my ritual St. Patrick's Day toast with a glass of chromatologically-enhanced beer. And of course, it is a silly and cheesy practice, but that's why I like it. Beer just seems to taste good when it's green and the day is the 17th of March. Naturally, I'm listening to the Pogues’ If I Should Fall from Grace with God (their best album, and don't even try to tell me otherwise) as I write (and drink). Green beer also tastes better when consumed with a shot of Jameson before noon on St. Patrick's Day.

The Eat + Drink List: This week's top 7


courtesy of Stefanie Michejda

1. Night School

If your shaker is looking a little rusty, it might be time to enroll in Bourbon & Branch’s Beverage Academy, their series of 2-hour evening classes covering attention-holding topics as “Gin: from bathtubs and back alleys to the upper class,” “Tequila: the spirit of Mexico,” and “Whiskey Confidential.”  Sign up for their upcoming classes on March 24th and 25th, held in the B&B library.

2. Carnivores Unite

Rare Burgundies Dinner at the St. Francis

WELCOME TO SF, LA PAULEE!



I have to write a brief report on the craziness that was La Paulée, the big Burgundy party in which everyone brings a great bottle (or ten) to share. There was so much great wine at this year's dinner, held on March 1, that had it not been so delicious, it would have been sickening. It was all collected in a back room at the Westin St. Francis, where the army of sommeliers (somewhere around 60 of them, from all over the country) would fetch it and pour it for the guests who brought it.

St. Patrick's Day: What (Not) To Do


courtesy of United Irish Societies of San Francisco

Yup, it’s that time of year again, where normal people don leprechaun outfits, drink ridiculous amounts of green beer and claim to be at least 1/18th Irish. If you’re so inclined, feel free to cram yourself into a local pub where, come midnight, some jerk will start belting out “Danny Boy.” But should you be looking for a slightly more, uh, refined way to celebrate the Emerald Isle, check out the following.

The Eat + Drink List: This Week's Top 7



1. Who's on Top?
The season premiere of Top Chef airs tonight at 10 p.m. on Bravo, and this season has four local contenders. So pull up a chair, order some take-out and get ready to play favorites. Wonder who we think won? Click here for our completely uninformed spoiler.


courtesy of Stefanie Michejda

Damn...

...that's a lot of glasses.



This was a dinner I attended during the Symposium for Professional Wine Writers up in Napa. It was a good three days, and I gleaned some valuable information about publishing. More than that, however, I made some excellent new friends. Not a bad use of time, particularly for people who are just starting their career.

A-Rhone at the Top

March 15 and 16 marks the return of the Rhone Rangers Grand Tasting, to be held at the Log Cabin in the Presidio. If you like inky Syrahs, bright Grenaches, juicy rosés, lush Marsannes, vibrant Roussanes or anything remotely related to Rhone varieties grown in the United States, this is the tasting for you. You can meet winemakers, taste new and old vintages and generally get your Rhone on. Pretty much everyone who's anyone in the world of Rhone varieties, including my favorites like Peay, Qupe, Tablas Creek and McCrea, will be there. Don't miss it.

Drinking Las Vegas

Along with many prominent San Francisco bartenders last week, I took in the unholy jambalaya of libation promotion that is the Las Vegas Bar Show. While boutique brands like Michter's whiskey and Barsol Pisco had small booths on the periphery of the show, the main floor was dominated by big brands, novelty vodkas (such as O2, "the world's first sparkling vodka"),



energy drinks and lots of blondes, such as you see at the Nuvo ("the world's first sparkling liqueur") and Rock Star Energy Drink booths.
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