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Hard-to-find spirits in San Francisco


limewine
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As with the cocktail bars in SF thread, I thought this forum might be a better resource than the regional one for the type of information I'm seeking.

I have an upcoming business trip to San Francisco, and while there I was hoping to acquire a few hard-to-find cocktail ingredients that are unavailable in the state-run liquor stores here in Washington state. I'm looking for stuff like Torani Amer, Velvet Falernum, Marie Brizard Apry, and the like.

I won't have a lot of time in town, so one or two shops will probably be all I can hit. Does anybody have suggestions for places I should head for? I already checked BevMo, and they say they're out of stock or don't carry the main things I was looking for. Help?

Paul Clarke

Seattle

The Cocktail Chronicles

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I do most of my booze shopping at the Bayshore BevMo, unless it's something I know they don't have. In which case I end up at any one of several other smaller specialty shops.

I know BevMo generally has the Falernum and Torani Amer. For some reason they don't stock Marie Brizzard Apry (though they have their anisette, blackberry, cassis, Parfait Amour...). BevMo's restocking can be pretty haphazard, especially for lower volume items.

John Walker and Co. is pretty good for most high end booze, and they are very friendly folks. However, they seem to keep a pretty small inventory on hand, so it would probably pay to call ahead. Just last week I had it in my head to get some white Rhum Agricole and discovered only after taking the BART into town that someone had purchased all their stock the day before. They do carry a full selection of Fee Brother's products and have a nice selection of liqueurs. It may not matter if this is a business trip; but, their prices can sometimes be a little out of whack. Parking and driving downtown is a royal pain.

-Erik

---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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Another place to try (but call first to see what they have in stock) is PlumpJack on 24th (there are two locations, but this one has the better liquor selection).

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May not work out for you on this trip, as they are located down in Menlo Park (just north of Palo Alto) on the Peninsula, but Beltramo's has a great selection of more difficult to find bitters, liqueurs, etc.

1540 El Camino Real, Menlo Park, CA 94025 · 650-325-2806

(I'd call ahead to find out if they have the specific items you are interested in.)

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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Beltramo's has a great selection of more difficult to find bitters, liqueurs, etc.

Truly, Beltramo's is great... I had totally forgotten about them.

Oh, I am so glad to be back in a civilized state, where the guvm'nt doesn't have their greedy mitts on every drop of liquor.

~A

Anita Crotty travel writer & mexican-food addictwww.marriedwithdinner.com

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If you've got some time take a look at K&L, they have a couple of locations and will ship, as will several other of the above mentioned stores. Beltramo's has also been very helpful to me.

Depending on which state you want to ship to, Sam's Wine and Spirits' in Chicago is hard to beat for variety.

For any of the online catalog stores, if you don't see something you want contact one of their spirits specialist, chances are they have updated their online inventory. All of these stores are working hard to maintain inventories on the shelves and in the back for online sales. It's always worth calling or sending an email. It has certainly worked for me.

Edward Hamilton

Ministry of Rum.com

The Complete Guide to Rum

When I dream up a better job, I'll take it.

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Thanks, all, for the suggestions. I wound up hitting the BevMo on Bayshore (I'd been checking the Geary location), and came away with falernum, Torani Amer, Boomsma jonge genever and Flor de Cana white rum (thanks to Ed's praise of it over on the rum forum). I've seen none of these things in Seattle liquor stores, so I'm glad I had the chance to do some quick shopping.

No Apry, however--the search continues.....

Paul

Paul Clarke

Seattle

The Cocktail Chronicles

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