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.
What happens when a wine-making techie leaves the echelons of Silicon Valley to make grape-based spirits using local ingredients in a collaborative environment? Better booze for all.
“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.
SF's own Anchor Brewing Company has a worldwide reputation as the locus of the current craft beer movement, but many fans of Anchor's brews may not know that founder Fritz Maytag was also a trendsetter in craft distilling. Since 1993, a micro-distillery located on the Mariposa Street brewery's ground floor has put out a small, well-curated selection of handmade hooch.
Craft distilling is now one of the hottest trends in the world of drink, with new distilleries specializing in every type of spirit regularly launching across the country. But 30 years ago, when German native Jörg Rupf founded Alameda-based St. George Spirits, today's cocktail culture and appreciation of spirits were just a distant dream, and the small spirits community that did exist was more focused on foreign creations than domestic ones.
I just wanted to give a quick shout about a new product. Cointreau Noir appeared at the end of last year without a lot of fanfare, but it's a pretty big deal as far as a new spirit. Years ago in 7x7 I wrote a column on the difference between Grand Marnier and Cointreau. Well this new release from Cointreau only blurs the lines.
But I have to ask you: What do you think of this bottle?
I'd been meaning to post on this for month's, but kept getting sidetracked until I was reminded of this by seeing Helen Roy's column in a recent Tablehopper. The wine, bar and beverage director for SoMa's new InterContinental Hotel, Roy (above) has turned its Bar 888 into a temple to one of her favorite substances: grappa.