The Big Drink: 50 Most Iconic Cocktails in San Francisco
When at The Treasury, order up the daily slushy, such as this frozen watermelon rendition. (Alison Webber)

The Big Drink: 50 Most Iconic Cocktails in San Francisco


Our small city is home to an outsized number of world class bars, and this list of 50 is merely a starting point.

For this year's Big Drink, we focused on cocktails iconic to San Francisco's past, present, and, we believe, its future—located in bars covering our seven-by-seven square miles (so you can sober up between stops).

There are many excellent watering holes that aren't listed here as their drink selections change frequently, but we've included the must-have classic cocktails (Irish Coffee at The Buena Vista, Tommy's Margarita at Tommy's), the neighborhood favorites (Strawberry Fields at the Tipsy Pig, La Copa Verde at Padrecito), and drinks on the cutting edge (anyone for a Peking duck-enhanced Old Fashioned at Cold Drinks?).

With some standards and many new additions to the list, this year's Big Drink should keep even the most dedicated cocktail geeks busy.

(Alison Webber)

Oh Snap at P.C.H. Pacific Cocktail Haven.

1. Penelope (sparkling rosé, palo cortado, Jerez brandy, grenadine, lemon, cacao) // 15 Romolo (North Beach),

2. Ginger Rogers (gin, lemon, ginger syrup, ginger ale, mint) // Absinthe (Hayes Valley),

3. Gin & Celery (Old Tom gin, lemon, tonic, celery bitters, salt) // ABV (Mission),

4. El Presidente (white rum, vermouth bianco, grenadine, curaçao, orange bitters) // Bar Agricole (SoMa),

5. Diablo (tequila, lime, ginger, cassis) // Beretta (Mission),

6. Bix Sidecar (Cognac, dry curaçao, lime) // Bix (Jackson Square),

7. Laphroaig Project (Laphroaig scotch whisky, Green and Yellow Chartreuse, maraschino liqueur, lemon, peach bitters) // Bourbon & Branch (Tenderloin),

8. Knife in the Water (Manzanilla sherry, Salers Aperitif, Dolin Blanc vermouth, Peychaud's bitters) // Brass Tacks (Hayes Valley),

9. Irish Coffee (Tullamore DEW Irish whiskey, Peerless organic coffee,C&H sugar, cream) // Buena Vista Cafe (Fisherman's Wharf),

10. Pepper (limoncello, Strega, Cardamaro, lime, black pepper, cachaca) // Che Fico (Fillmore),

11. Sometimes Old Fashioned (Peking duck fat–infused Speyburn 10, Dickel rye, black pepper syrup, Angostura bitters, black lemon and candy cap bitters) // Cold Drinks at China Live (Chinatown),

12. Cherry Bounce (bourbon, cherry brandy, lemon, Angostura bitters, Champagne) // Comstock Saloon (North Beach),

13. Clear Bloody Mary (Dirty Girl early girl tomato water extract, oak-aged vodka, St. George shochu, shoyu, 7-year barrel-aged fish sauce, shichimi togarashi) // Gibson (Tenderloin),

14. Bourbon Lift (Buffalo Trace courbon, St. George Nola coffee liqueur, orgeat, Straus organic cream, soda water) // Hard Water (Embarcadero),

15. After the Gold Rush (Old Grandad bourbon, pineapple gum syrup, apricot, lime) // Holy Water (Bernal Heights),

16. California Cooler (gin, celery juice, lime, thyme sauvignon blanc syrup, sparkling wine) // Horsefeather (Fillmore),

17. Hat in the Ring (gin, Luna Amara, grapefruit, bitters) // Junior (Mission),

18. Last Rites (Mount Gay Black Barrel rum, house white rum, overproof rum blend, passion fruit syrupp, blackstrap molasses syrup, Last Rites mix) // Last Rites (Duboce Triangle),

19. Chinese Mai Tai (rum, Chinese liqueur, pineapple) // Li Po Cocktail Lounge (Chinatown),

20. Ancho Chile Margarita (Milagro tequila, Ancho Reyes liqueur, lime, agave) // Mission Rock Resort (Dogpatch),

21. Wabi-Sabi (Japanese whiskey, kina, cream sherry, truffle honey, Mexican rum) // Nomica (Upper Market),

22. The Eucharist (Lustau East India sherry, Ardbeg Scotch whiskey, manzanilla sherry) // NoPa (Fillmore),

23. Mezcal Paloma (Del Maguey Vida mezcal, grapefruit, soda, Cynar) // Nopalito (Lower Haight, Inner Sunset),

24. Oh Snap! (Sipsmith gin, sugar snap peas, manzanilla sherry, absinthe, citrus, tonic) // P.C.H. Pacific Cocktail Haven (Tendernob),

25. Tasteful Noodz (Mars Iwai Japanese whiskey, Cynar, chicken ramen, mirin, citrus ) // Pabu (FiDi),

26. La Copa Verde (mezcal, cilantro, chipotle powder, lime) // Padrecito (Cole Valley),

27. Quarantine Order (Appleton rum, El Dorado rum, Angostura bitters, cinnamon syrup, passion fruit syrup, grapefruit, lime) // Pagan Idol (FiDi),

28. Kentucky Buck (strawberry-infused Kentucky bourbon, lemon, ginger beer) // Rickhouse (FiDi),

29. Smuggler's Rum Barrel (three rums, Angostura bitters, fresh lime, Smuggler's Mix) // Smuggler's Cove (Hayes Valley),

30. Spruce Goose (vodka, douglass fir brandy, calvados, maple, lemon, lemon bitters ) // Spruce (Presidio Heights),

31. 20th Century (gin, Kina L'Aero D'Or, creme de cacao, lemon) // Stookey's Club Moderne (Tendernob),

32. Hideout Whiskey Cocktail (rye, gentiane-quina, maraschino, house bourbon bitters) // The Hideout at Dalva (Mission),

33. Dublin Honey (Guinness, caramelized honey ice cream, Valrhona chocolate syrup, Graham's tawny port) // The Ice Cream Bar (Cole Valley),

34. Navy Gimlet (high-proof gin, lime cordial) // The Interval at Long Now Foundation (Fort Mason),

35. Manhattan (black butter bourbon, vermouth, bitters) // The Progress (Fillmore),

36. Czechs & Balances (bourbon, Jelinek fernet, lemon, honey, allspice) // The Sea Star (Dogpatch),

37. Piña Colada (El Dorado white rum, house coconut cream, fresh pressed pineapple juice, pineapple gum, lime) // The Slanted Door (Embarcadero),

38. Prickly Pear (mezcal, nopales, prickly pear, amaro, lime, habañero) // The Snug (Pacific Heights),

39. Strawberry Fields (Russian Standard vodka, fresh strawberries, simple syrup, soda, fresh lime) // Tipsy Pig (Marina),

40. 1934 Zombie (overproof rum, lime, grapefruit, cinnamon, falernum, absinthe, pomegranate, bitters) // The Tonga Room (Nob Hill),

41. Slushy of the Day // The Treasury (FiDi),

42. Tommy's Margarita (100 percent agave tequila, lime juice, agave nectar) // Tommy's Mexican Restaurant (Outer Richmond),

43. House "Cappuccino" (Marie Duffau Bas Armagnac, Buffalo Trace bourbon, Dandelion chocolate ganache, organic milk) // Tosca Cafe (North Beach),

44. Jersey City (Manoir de Montreuil calvados, pineapple gum, absinthe, aromatic bitters) // Trou Normand (SoMa),

45. Mai O Mai (Panamanian rum, lime, pistachio orgeat, curaçao, coffee-rum float; milk-washed) // True Laurel (Mission),

46. White Cap Martini (Aviation gin, seaweed-infused Dolin Dry Vermouth) // White Cap (Outer Sunset),

47. Hungry Monk of East Sussex (Spirit Works private barrel gin, bourbon, Giffard Banane du Brésil, oloroso sherry, salted brulée, cinnamon bitters) // Whitechapel (Tenderloin),

48. Breakfast Negroni (Cocoa Puff infused Negroni with Beefeater gin, Campari, Cinzano 1757 vermouth, chocolate salt bitters) // Wildhawk (Mission),

49. Martini (gin, vermouth) // Zam Zam (Upper Haight),

50. Bloody Mary (vodka, tomato juice, spices, garnishes) // Zeitgeist (Mission)

Special thanks to our partners at Blue Angel Vodka.

Fancy yourself a mixologist? Make one of these three Blue Angel recipes at home.

BAM (Blue Angel Martini)


3 oz. Blue Angel Ultra Premium Vodka

1 to 3 drops dry vermouth

Combine ingredients in a shaker full of ice, shake gently, and strain into your favorite chilled martini glass. Garnish with lemon twist or your favorite gourmet olive.

Blue Bam


3 oz. Blue Angel Ultra Premium Vodka

1 splash blue Curaçao

Combine ingredients in a shaker full of ice, shake gently, and strain into your favorite chilled martini glass. Garnish with lemon twist.

Blue Angel Mule


1.5 oz. Blue Angel Ultra Premium Vodka

.5 oz. lime juice

4 oz. ginger beer

1 lime wedge

Combine in a Blue Angel copper mug and enjoy it cold!


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