Drink Here Now: National Absinthe Day and Chinese New Year Cocktails


Goodbye, Fernet February. Hello, Martini March!

Celebrate National Absinthe Day at Blackbird
If you're quick, you can chase the green fairy today in the Castro. In honor of National Absinthe Day, Blackbird is offering a special absinthe line-up for one night only. Drop by any time after 3 pm to participate in a traditional absinthe ritual, which involves pouring chilled water slowly from an ornate fountain over a lump of sugar suspended in a filigreed spoon atop a glass of absinthe, turning the emerald spirit a cloudy white. Prices range from $7 to $12 for the four featured brands: St George Absinthe, Kubler, Vieux Pontilarlier and Duplais Verte. If you prefer your absinthe diluted with something other than ice water, try the $10 "Death in the Afternoon" cocktail. Absinthe specials are available until closing time, at 2 am. 2124 Market (at Church)

Celebrate Chinese New Year at E&O Kitchen & Bar
The biggest annual Chinese New Year Parade in the US is slated for this Saturday at 5:15 pm in San Francisco's Chinatown, and E&O Kitchen and Bar is celebrating with traditional Chinese lion dancers and a trio of Year of the Goat-inspired cocktails. Stop in after the Chinese New Year parade for a "Baa-ram-ewe" (Prosecco, pear, vodka, yuzu sorbet float), a "J.P. Goat-ier" (black currant gin, mint, citrus) or a "Billy the Kid" – (single barrel whiskey, bitters, fennel, caramelized brown sugar), for $11 each. Diners can get lucky in a red envelope giveaway of three complimentary dinners for two, or simply order lucky a la carte dishes, made special for the auspicious occasion. Crab Rangoon and Long Life Noodle are $18 each, and the Whole Crispy Fish with green mango salad and citrus kumquat glaze is available at market price. Lion dancing begins at 8 pm. 314 Sutter (at Stockton)

A Pair of Beer Pairing Dinners
Bay Area brewmasters love to collaborate, and Dave McLean of Magnolia Smokestack and Magnolia Brewing Company is no exception. He's teaming up with Dogpatch neighbor Michael Recchiuti to host a pair of adventurous beer pairing dinners this Friday and Saturday at 7 pm at The Lab. This will be their second collaboration through Recchiuti's tasteProject, an ongoing series of thematic dinners that feature local artisans and explore the interaction between art, food and libations. This week's six-course dinners include a three-flight beer course as well as Broccoli Rabe & Marris Otter Risotto, Applewood Smoked Chicken, and Stout-Infused Chocolate Souffle. Every course is paired with - and sometimes even prepared with - a select Magnolia brew. Tickets are available on Sosh for $100/person and include dinner, beer pairings, and tax. 801 22nd Street (at Tennessee)

Idlewild Wine Pairing Dinner at Californios
If wine is your preferred dinner pairing, Californios might be your favored drinking destination this week. The new modern Mexican restaurant in the Mission is teaming up with Idlewild Wines from Healdsburg for a collaborative wine pairing dinner on Monday, March 10, featuring a seven-course abstract Mexican menu created by Chef Val M. Cantu. Though the menu will be kept secret until the end of the meal, you can expect delicacies such as smoked-hamachi aguachile and braised beef tongue with a glass of Vin Gris or Carignan. Dinner begins at 6:30 pm, and Idlewild owner Sam Bilbro will be on hand to discuss each wine while Chef Cantu presents each dish. Tickets are available on Sosh for $160 each, including dinner, wine pairings, tax, and tip. 3115 22nd Street (at South Van Ness) [UPDATE: This dinner is being rescheduled to a future date.]

New Wine and Food Pairings at Sam's Grill
When it comes to wine pairings, some people prefer a one-course fling to a seven-course commitment. If you resemble that remark, try the new wine and food pairings at Sam's Grill, where Sommelier Lance Tolaio has hand-selected three wines to complement three signature dishes at one of San Francisco's oldest restaurants. He pairs the Mesquite Grilled, aged New York Cut with a 2010 Keenan Cabernet Sauvignon because it "...marries incredibly well with the powerful dust laced tannins, black currant, cherry and mocha notes of one of California’s finest boutique wines." Other pairings include Petrale Sole with Sébastien Dampt “Les Vaillons” Premier Cru Chablis and the "Franco Salad" paired with St. Denis Sancerre. Sam's Grill is open weekdays from 11 am to 9 pm. 374 Bush (at Kearny)

Send drinking suggestions to renee@grassrootspr.com.



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