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mixtress

San Francisco Lounges

115 posts in this topic

Finally got to range for cocktails and dinner last night, and have to say they did not disappoint.

I had a delicious "1794" (Old Overholt, Cinzano, Campari, flamed orange twist) and my wife had their cocktail of the day, the refreshing "Peach Bum" (Muddled Peach Leaves(!), Santa Teresa Rum, Lemon, Blenheim Ginger Ale).

The food was good, too...

I went there a week ago and order this same drink; it was excellent. One of my friends had a ginger-based (I think vodka) cocktail that was very good. I was also intrigued by a special cocktail they were offering that day that included elderberry flower syrup... but we only had one drink before dinner. The bar has about ~ 12 bar stools.

(I enjoyed the food there as well and would go back.)


"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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Special kundo's for anyone who can name who the big 4 were.

i know they were railroad guys. i am assuming huntington was one and, if memory serves, i think Mark Hopkins (who also has a hotel named after him was as well). as for the other two...you got me

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Special kundo's for anyone who can name who the big 4 were.

i know they were railroad guys. i am assuming huntington was one and, if memory serves, i think Mark Hopkins (who also has a hotel named after him was as well). as for the other two...you got me

Leland Stanford is one of the four, no?


"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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To get the other two, think bank and university.

There used to be a French restaurant in the Huntington that had a bar with leopard skin banquettes and a piano player in a tux with slicked back hair, playing Cole Porter. It was an interesting place, but I can't remember the name.

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To get the other two, think bank and university.

Think Carlbad's got it!

Now all I have to do is figure out what a kudo is.

Guess I can offer 4 Big microseconds of fame.

As for the rest of you keep trying.

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I'd like to second cocktailgeek's recommendation of Rye.

Got there tonight, and had some of the most outstanding and well made coctails I've had recently in the city.

If there was a way I could just drink Velvet Cane cocktails, (10 cane, lime, tangerine, orgeat, egg white, angostura,) as an exclusive beverage for the rest of my life, I might just do it...

Mmmm...

And next month's drink challenge is Plymouth Gin!


---

Erik Ellestad

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

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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I am out visting the Bay Area and heading to this place tomorrow around 8. I was on the edge up until hearing this from Erik but seeing the description of the drink below, I am so there.. Looks mighty tasty.

I'd like to second cocktailgeek's recommendation of Rye.

Got there tonight, and had some of the most outstanding and well made coctails I've had recently in the city.

If there was a way I could just drink Velvet Cane cocktails, (10 cane, lime, tangerine, orgeat, egg white, angostura,) as an exclusive beverage for the rest of my life, I might just do it...

Mmmm...

And next month's drink challenge is Plymouth Gin!


John Deragon

foodblog 1 / 2

--

I feel sorry for people that don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day -- Dean Martin

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BTW, the Plymouth thing I was talking about: Rye has a monthly competition where they ask bartenders to create orginal cocktails. The cocktails are then judged, and if they win, featured on the menu with credit to the bartender who created them.

The cocktail I enjoyed so much, The Velvet Cane, was one of the winning cocktails in a past competition. It was created by Thomas Waugh.

I also had a great Rye Manhattan made with the younger Sazerac rye. Other cocktails our tabled enjoyed included a Peach Cobbler and a Sazerac (though they did, oddly, make the Sazerac on the rocks).

Scan of Rye Menu


Edited by eje (log)

---

Erik Ellestad

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

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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So I stopped by Rye tonight with my wife and had a few drinks there tonight. First impressions are that it is a great space, and they have a great cocktai menu. Unfortunately I think they need to work on the execution a little bit to really make it fire on all cylinders.

I started off with the Velvet Cane which I think has the ingredients to be an awesome drink, except the version I had was very heavy on the bitters -- so much so I couldn't taste anything but the bitters. This in conjuction with the free pouring (instead of measured shots) lead to a slightly one dimensonal drink.

My wife had the Golden Rye Flip, which was a really good drink. I was surprised to see that they didn't mention egg yolk on the menu, as every "flip" drink I know has egg yolk in it. While the drink does have egg yolk in it (pasturized from a carton), it was still surprising not to see it listed on the ingredients.

After that I had a Sazerac with Mitchers Rye and was slightly dismayed to see it being shaken and served in a martini glass. While it is just a detail, a drink of that nature really shines when the execution is there. This was ok, but not super special.

Wife had the Apple Bomb -- pretty great drink. Overall the wife seems to have picked the winners of the evening, and while I was generally happy with the drinks, once the execution of them is stepped up a bit, it will really be an awesome place.

I am leaving to go back to NY tomorrow, but it is safe to say if I lived in the Bay Area I would visit Rye again, and I do think it has the capability to be pretty awesome.

I think just with a little more attention to technique and measuring of the shots will go a long way to really making the drinks sing. Then again, I may just be very spoiled with Milk and Honey, Flatiron and Pegu in New York.

John


John Deragon

foodblog 1 / 2

--

I feel sorry for people that don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day -- Dean Martin

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I haven't seen Slanted Door mentioned in this thread. Though it is quite busy and the restaurant can be noisy, the lounge is nice with great attention to cocktails.

Farallon is also worth a visit.

And Solstice, Kieran Walsh is working hard to produce great drinks to accompany the outstanding food. I look forward to dinner there next weekend and a ti punch before dinner.

Enrico's has dropped their standards a notch or two since Dave Nepove left, but it's still a comfortable place with great music on some nights.

On the other side of the bay, Forbidden Island is also making a mark in their new Tiki bar.


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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John,

Sorry to hear about your experience!

Well, that's San Francisco for you. Great ideas, poor follow through.

Yeah, it sounds like the bartenders at Rye need training and the recipes and presentations need to be standardized. My wife ordered a Sazerac and hers was served on the rocks in a double old fashioned glass.

I'm going to try to replicate the Velvet Cane I had at Rye. I'll start with something like 2 oz rum, 1/2 oz tangerine, 1/2 oz lime, barspoon orgeat, dash angostura, 1/2 egg white. I have a lot of Rum, but, no 10 Cane. I'll try plain old Flor de Cana white and see how it is. Anyone think the 10 Cane might be critical to the recipe for some reason other than the name?

BTW, Ed, I think the same bartender/consultant who did the drinks menu at the Slanted Door did the drinks at the newly remodeled COCO 500. That also might be worth a try.


---

Erik Ellestad

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

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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I'm going to try to replicate the Velvet Cane I had at Rye.  I'll start with something like 2 oz rum, 1/2 oz tangerine, 1/2 oz lime, barspoon orgeat, dash angostura, 1/2 egg white.  I have a lot of Rum, but, no 10 Cane.  I'll try plain old Flor de Cana white and see how it is.  Anyone think the 10 Cane might be critical to the recipe for some reason other than the name?

Actually, I think it will probably make a big difference. Ten Cane is I guess what you might call a "pseudo rhum agricole." I don't think it has as much of a distinctive agricole character as, say, Ed's rhums do. But it is made with cane juice, and it does have some of that character. If you're going to substitite, I'd use either one of Ed's rhums or maybe Barbancourt from Haiti.


Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

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John,

Sorry to hear about your experience!

Well, that's San Francisco for you.  Great ideas, poor follow through.

Yeah, it sounds like the bartenders at Rye need training and the recipes and presentations need to be standardized.  My wife ordered a Sazerac and hers was served on the rocks in a double old fashioned glass.

Yah I think some technique and consistancy would go a long way. As I said the space is really awesome, they have a great selection of liquors too. The bartender was really nice and we had a great conversation, so I was a good experience overall. Next time I am back in the Bay Area I will definately check it out again -- hopefully they will get some more processes in place.

John


John Deragon

foodblog 1 / 2

--

I feel sorry for people that don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day -- Dean Martin

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Actually, I think it will probably make a big difference.  Ten Cane is I guess what you might call a "pseudo rhum agricole."  I don't think it has as much of a distinctive agricole character as, say, Ed's rhums do.  But it is made with cane juice, and it does have some of that character.  If you're going to substitite, I'd use either one of Ed's rhums or maybe Barbancourt from Haiti.

I have the La Favorite Blanc; but, I think just the La Favorite on its own might be too funky. Perhaps 1 ounce La Favorite and 1 oz Flor de Cana? The only Barbancourt rum I see around is the Special Reserve. I think that's an aged amber rum.

Well, I will experiment later this week and report back in the thread about reproducing bar drinks.


---

Erik Ellestad

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

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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New Developments:

Woo! Now we've got a speakeasy. Bourbon and Branch is a reservations only establishment, in the manner of New York (and London's) Milk and Honey.

In other news, we will soon have a "Micro-Distillery." Rumor has it the micro-distillery is being opened by the folks who run the fine Magnolia Brew Pub. It will also be in the upper haight and is to be called "The Alembic".

Haven't been to either, yet, so details to follow.

edit - stupid grammar.


Edited by eje (log)

---

Erik Ellestad

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

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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I was at Cortez a few weeks ago and the bartender there told me that Todd Smith, the ex-bar manager at Cortez, is one of the people behind Bourbon and Branch. Not sure if he's one of the owners or just working there, but he does make very good drinks.


Janet A. Zimmerman, aka "JAZ"
Manager
jzimmerman@eGullet.org
eG Ethics signatory
Author, The Healthy Pressure Cooker Cookbook and All About Cooking for Two

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I was at Cortez a few weeks ago and the bartender there told me that Todd Smith, the ex-bar manager at Cortez, is one of the people behind Bourbon and Branch. Not sure if he's one of the owners or just working there, but he does make very good drinks.

True, Todd Smith is a partner in Bourbon & Branch with the guys behind Anu and Swig. There is an extensive cocktail menu, with a heavy emphasis on the classics (lots of bourbon & gin). Like Milk & Honey, there are house rules, which include: "Don't even think about ordering a Cosmo".


Edited by cocktailgeek (log)

Marcovaldo Dionysos

Cocktail Geek

cocktailgeek@yahoo.com

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Interesting writeup of Bourbon and Branch in SF Chronicle restaurant critic Michael Bauer's blog:

The Price of Experimental Cocktails

Here's the deal: There's no name on the door, just a chocolate brown facade with an intercom and button. To get a table, you have to make a reservation in advance and they confirm with the time and how long you can stay (we had four people and were allowed to stay one hour). Then the day of the Big Drink Adventure, we were called and given the nightly password, "bang bang," which was required to get in the door.

Sounds like they still have some kinks to work out...

Here's another cocktail related Bauer blog entry with some interesting comments and destination suggestions:

The art of the cocktail

It used to be when I reviewed a restaurant, I concentrated on the wine list, but recently just about every place that opens has signature cocktails and a bar menu of exotic elixirs. Even those places with beer and wine licenses sneak in a few sake cocktails. So, of course, I have to taste them all.

---

Erik Ellestad

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

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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Feature article in today's SF Chronicle about Bourbon and Branch.

The cosmo-free zone

Not only are they making their own tonic; but, experimenting with Sodium Alginate!

Then things really get interesting. The Pimm's Cup is topped with an aromatic cucumber-mint foam thickened with soy lecithin. The Deconstructed Negroni is served as a glass of cold gin with sweet vermouth and Campari "caviar" on the side. The "caviar" is made by squeezing the liquids (mixed with sodium alginate) from a syringe into a dish of calcium chloride solution, which forms a skin around the droplets.

And quite a roster of bartenders!

All of the other bartenders working at Bourbon & Branch come from the restaurant world as well: Jon Santer, formerly of Bruno's and now at Tres Agaves; Dominic Venegas from Range; David Nepove, formerly of Enrico's and now at Southern Wine & Spirits; Neyah White from Nopa; and Marcovaldo Dionysos, also from Tres Agaves. Several of them keep shifts at these restaurant venues in addition to Bourbon & Branch.

---

Erik Ellestad

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

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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The sidebar article to that story is interesting as well:

Elements of Craft Cocktails

Better mixers. Bourbon & Branch has purchased a machine to produce soda water. Additionally they don't serve mixers through a drink gun (the squirting dispenser), but pour tonic, soda water, sodas and ginger ale from individual bottles. The bar at Coco500 serves bartender-preferred Indian tonic water instead of the regular Schweppes.

Colder cocktails. Though San Francisco has yet to see bartenders chipping ice off a block like at Milk & Honey in New York, Bourbon & Branch has a machine that produces extra-large blocks of purified ice 1 1/4-inches square. Bartenders at Bix use silver cocktail shakers. "The silver conducts temperature much better so you get a colder drink," says Biederbeck. He also says he'd love to have a glass freezer.


John Deragon

foodblog 1 / 2

--

I feel sorry for people that don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day -- Dean Martin

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I tried Bourbon and Branch a couple of nights ago and was impressed. From my experience, it seems that they've ironed out whatever problems Bauer found in the service -- I would have preferred sitting at the bar, but our server was quick and very pleasant. The drinks were good; I thought there was a good mix of fairly accessible drinks with more complex ones. A nice touch was the "amuse" champagne cocktail that the server brought, so we had something to sip while we were deciding what to order.

I'll definitely go back, and I'd recommend it to anyone who likes creative cocktails.


Janet A. Zimmerman, aka "JAZ"
Manager
jzimmerman@eGullet.org
eG Ethics signatory
Author, The Healthy Pressure Cooker Cookbook and All About Cooking for Two

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Not to let Janet get too far in front of me, I stopped by the newly opened Alembic on my way home tonight.

A very nice featured cocktail list included many classics (Manhattan, Hoffman House, Sazerac, Floridita, Old-Fashioned...) and some new ones. I think no less than three of the featured cocktails are using Rye Whiskey. They even feature Mr. Wondrich's Bone (hoho!).

I had a very well prepared Manhattan (Rye, bitters and stirred! Without asking! Woo!) and found the bartenders to be personable and more than competent in their trade.

They have a very impressive wall of booze and a good selection of beers from their sister brewpub, the Magnolia, and other local breweries.

Didn't try the food or appetizer. Hope to return soon to sample those.

It was a nice low key place. If I had to put it anywhere on the map, I would say it reminded me of d.b.a. on Frenchman's street in New Orleans.

Definitely a cool addition to San Francisco's bar scene.


---

Erik Ellestad

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

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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Oh, just to clarify, when I originally mentioned the Alembic, based on some early press I'd read, I called it a "micro-distillery".

It is not.

They are making some liqueurs themselves and have a fine selection of Booze from smaller West Coast distilleries like St. George, Aviation, Germain-Robin, Hangar One, etc.

But, they are not distilling anything in house.


---

Erik Ellestad

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

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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Interesting writeup of Bourbon and Branch in SF Chronicle restaurant critic Michael Bauer's blog:

The Price of Experimental Cocktails

Here's the deal: There's no name on the door, just a chocolate brown facade with an intercom and button. To get a table, you have to make a reservation in advance and they confirm with the time and how long you can stay (we had four people and were allowed to stay one hour).

Man what?

Okay; much as I understand what a sweet deal it is to the management to have seatings capped like this, I cannot imagine what would get me to a bar like this rather than just making cocktails at home.


Mayur Subbarao, aka "Mayur"

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I'm a little taken back by Bourbon and Branch's House Rules. If the bartenders are always right, how do they learn anything new? I learn the most when I make mistakes. There are some big egos in the food and drink business but there aren't many who would be so bold as to declare that they are always right. As a frequent visitor to San Francisco, one of my favorite cities in the country, I think I'll wait a few months before I jump through the hoops to meet the people who are ALWAYS RIGHT.


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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