Can one person drink at every bar in San Francisco?

Cocktail Recipes

Bay Summer Cocktail No. 1

Bay Summer No. 1

This year’s unusually sunny and warm weather in San Francisco is making me crave tropical cocktails. Since Smuggler’s Cove isn’t open for breakfast, (I’m a big fan of eye-opener cocktails on the weekends,) I came up with a tiki cocktail of my own that is easy to make and refreshing on hot days.

Bay Summer Cocktail No. 1

1 oz Don Q silver rum

1/2 oz Kraken dark rum

1/2 oz Chartreuse

2 oz Pineapple juice

1/2 oz Lime juice

1 tsp Homemade aprium preserves (The apriums I used have a strong jasmine note when cooked into preserves, but you could substitute high quality apricot jam.)

1 Small apricot, chopped

Dash of aromatic bitters

Muddle the preserves and apricot in a cocktail shaker. Add all other ingredients plus ice and shake until frothy and chilled. Serve with an apricot slice garnish.


The Last Word

The Last Word

One of the bartenders at Hi-Lo recommended The Last Word to me the other night, and I had forgotten what a lovely, bracing drink it is. I decided to make one for myself this morning, as the invigorating nature of the drink makes it a great eye-opener cocktail. While The Last Word usually calls for lime juice, I only have lemons on hand. I have to say the difference is barely noticeable underneath the assertive herbiness of the Chartreuse.

The Last Word

(These are the proportions I prefer and are not necessarily true to the classic. Some recipes call for equal parts of all ingredients, but I just can’t drink that much Luxardo.)

1 oz Hendrick’s gin

3/4 oz Chartreuse

1/4 oz Luxardo

Juice of one fresh lemon

Shake all ingredients with ice until very cold and strain into a cocktail glass.


Rhubarb Cocktail


I never knew what to do with rhubarb before I started putting it in cocktails. This Spring, like the one before and several before that, I made a rhubarb-strawberry gastrique to use in drinks. While gastriques are heavy on the vinegar, the final flavor isn’t identifiable as vinegar. The vinegar simply takes all of the other flavors up to 11. The gastrique is easy to make: one cup sugar, half cup water, half cup vinegar (I used apple cider.) Bring everything to a boil, add in chopped fruits, vegetables, and/or herbs, and simmer for ten minutes. Strain out solids before using.

Rhubarb Cocktail

1 1/2 oz Sazerac Rye Whiskey

1 oz rhubarb-strawberry gastrique

2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters

2 large mint leaves, torn into pieces

Shake all ingredients with ice in shaker until very cold. Strain into an ice filled glass and garnish with mint.

Homesick Manhattan

Homesick Manhattan

It’s no secret that after 11 years of living in San Francisco, I still get homesick about Tennessee. To bring a little taste of home into my bar, I made root beer bitters with real, wild-crafted sassafras root, vanilla beans, ginger, angelica, and several secret herbal ingredients. These bitters hold their own in the hangover remedy bitters and soda, and they also make a fine addition to a non-traditional Manhattan.

New Cocktail – “Flu Shot”

"Flu Shot" Cocktail

Since I am terrified of needles, I have come up with my own concoction to keep me well. Obviously I am making no medical/health claims, but I did use 1/2 oz of Sambucus (Black Elderberry Syrup) by Nature’s Way in this drink.

Flu Shot

1 oz Hendricks gin

1/2 oz Sambucus syrup

2 Dashes Peychaud’s Bitters

Juice of 1/2 lime

Cold soda water

Shake all ingredients except soda with ice until chilled. Pour into glass and top off with soda water.

This drink definitely beats a shot in the arm.

On another note, regular readers may wonder where I have been over the last year. After being crushed by a Muni bus door a little over a year ago, I was unable to walk for over a month. That coupled with my annual bout of SAD and an extremely physically demanding job sapped me of my will to live, or at least any creative energy I had. The job is still taking up most of my time and energy, but I am determined to make the most of the days getting longer and the fresh start of a new year.

I don’t always have the time or energy to leave my neighborhood, so I have not been exploring new bars very often. That said, I don’t consider The San Francisco Bar Experiment failed or over. I am recommitting myself to documenting new bars, along with anything else alcohol related in my life. Writing strictly about going to every bar feels too restrictive these days, so I plan on blogging about cocktail geekery and whatever else seems interesting at the time. I hope some of you decide to read along during this next chapter in my life.

Birthday Cocktail – Rogue’s Fancy

I made this cocktail in honor of my friend’s birthday today. Her D&D character is a rogue, hence the name.

Rogue’s Fancy

1 1/2 oz Bulleit Rye

2 tbl homemade strawberry & blackberry jam

2 dash Peychaud’s Bitters


Add ice, Rye, jam and bitters to cocktail shaker and shake thoroughly. Strain twice through a fine strainer and pour into chilled cocktail glass. Top with soda.


Sneak Preview- TL Bar Experiment

This is one of the cocktails I created for the backers of my book. I offered to print the recipe for a cocktail named after each person who gave me $100 toward the publishing costs, and that ended up being how I raised half of the money. I spent the last two days completely wrecking my kitchen to create and photograph 14 cocktails. This is one of the fruity ones; I also made savory drinks and some based on classic cocktail recipes.

1oz Silver Tequila
2-3 strawberries
1/2oz fresh lemon juice
1/2tbl honey

Muddle strawberries, lemon juice and honey. Add tequila and ice and shake until chilled. Strain into cocktail glass filled with cracked ice. Garnish with a strawberry.