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spirits

Anchor's New Hophead Vodka Takes Its Cues from Beer

Hophead Vodka

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.

Go Behind the Booze at St. George Spirits' 30th Birthday Bash

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.

Cointreau Noir

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.

New Orleans Report: Drinking to Learn

Yes, Tales of the Cocktails was about much more than drinking and eating. It was also about learning about drinking. Just to prove that we indeed did occasionally act studiously, I present you a picture of two SF bartenders, Neyah White of Nopa and Stephen Liles of Boulevard, in class and ready to learn about ancient liqueurs. Unlike most seminars, you will notice, in front of each seat was not a pad of paper and perhaps a glass of water but a mini bottle of Chartreuse and another of St. Germain.


Domain de Canton: Message in a Bottle?

People who have followed my work know that I am an unabashed fan of this spirit. It's simply one of the most complex, well-balanced, vivid and delicious liqueurs to have come around in generations. And I haven't really found anyone who disagrees with me. So the quality of the spirit is not really at issue.

But I have to ask you: What do you think of this bottle?


Grappa at Bar 888



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.

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.
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