Sour beers are full of flavor with a refreshing tang replacing the more usual bitterness of hoppy ales. If you aren’t sure where to begin with sour beers, ask the barkeep of any bar with a good beer list for a recommendation. Hi-Lo Club on Polk Street has several great options, including Bellegems Bruin pictured above. The Jug Shop on Russian Hill has four glorious shelves of sour brews, including Pink Drank, an aged sour beer from Oakland made with cherries that has a complex, woody/sour taste.
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.
It may be a chain, but McMenamins sure knows how to set up cozy bars. Dark and underground, Al’s features new takes on classic cocktails, including a boozy version of an Arnold Palmer and a Chocolate Old Fashioned.
Portland does classic bars right.
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.
A liquor company is marketing a whiskey with everything we love about it removed: http://www.foodrepublic.com/2011/11/08/finally-whiskey-horrible-people
Smelling strongly of new carpet and located in the heart of tourist hell, the new Gold Dust Lounge has somehow managed to retain much of its original charm. I know many regulars will experience culture shock, but the friendly old bartenders and cheap drinks should quickly set them at ease. The bar is still rocking $3.50 Irish coffees, margaritas, and champagne. Give it twenty years and the bar will even have back the patina of a well loved watering home. I have high hopes for this second incarnation.
Gold Dust Lounge