COCKTAILS Novela, the new literary-themed lounge in SoMa, is undoubtedly beautiful: plenty of window light pours in during the evening, highlighting tall black shelves packed full of color-coordinated books. The space, a collaboration between acclaimed bar stars Alex Smith and Kate Bolton, is littered with huge, cozy reading chairs as well as low comfy couches.
But my friend and I just somehow felt out of place.Read more »
COCKTAILS In San Francisco, there's a bar for practically every situation. Feeling high-class yet mysterious? Bourbon and Branch is right up your alley. Colorful and trendy? Go to Trick Dog. If you need to drown your sorrows in the dark, there are plenty of dive bars ready to pour you a heavy-handed drink.
But if you're just looking for a well-made cocktail in friendly spot after work, let me introduce you to Southside Spirit House, the newest bar to hit SoMa.Read more »
Each year holds a range of interesting spirits released from around the globe. As the craft spirit industry continues to explode, there were many exciting newcomers this year. Here are some of the best of what's crossed my desk in 2012.
FORD's GIN ($27) - The 86 Company is a new venture from spirits and cocktail world stars Simon Ford (former International Brand Ambassador for Plymouth Gin), Jason Kosmas and Dushan Zaric (owners of New York's Employees Only bar, authors of Speakeasy). Just last month, they released Caña Brava Rum (a Panama rum, aged 3 years), Aylesbury Duck Vodka, and Ford's Gin. It's the gin I've been mixing with at home in every kind of cocktail from a basic gin and tonic to complex Ramos Gin Fizz.
FOOD AND DRINK It was another humid, sweltering year at Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans. The world's biggest cocktail event drew thousands of attendees July 25-29 for a week of nonstop tastings, seminars, and parties in the great queen of the South.Read more »
Big's name is somewhat of an oxymoron. This cozy space from the crew behind Jones is a mere few seats and when the bar is full at around 20-25 people, be prepared to wait at the door until space clears (they will text you when it does). After multiple visits, I continue to find the bar staffed by the talented Brian Felley (previously at Fleur de Lys and Garcon), a barback and one other bartender, Mo, who is recently here from burgeoning cocktail town Denver, having worked at the Squeaky Bean. Similar to the aforementioned Library Bar, there's a small herb and produce spread here, while both bartenders are quite adept at assessing preferences, taking time to craft you "just the thing."
APPETITE An Irish whiskey with a Bay Area connection... Livermore, to be exact? It's true. January saw the release of a brand new whiskey, not a common occurrence in Ireland. What better way to initiate this new release than with a Bon Vivants party?
My recent travels through Ireland, particularly exploring whiskey production in County Cork (from pot still beauties like Redbreast to mass production Jameson), amplified my love for the smooth pleasures of Irish whiskey.Read more »