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
The Way Out Cafe is a chill, mod themed cafe with beer and wine. So sad I will never make it to the Sunday Waffle Party because of work. As the name implies, The Way Out Cafe is way out on Mission just before it crosses Valencia. The owner is super sweet and I would totally be a regular If I still lived out here.
Every time I go to the farmers market I make a cocktail with something I bring back. Today it was pomegranate juice, although I am thinking of using my sauerkraut juice to make a dirty martini type of drink later today.
The Black Cat
1oz Apple brandy
1/2oz Triple Sec
2 Dashes orange bitters
2oz Pomegranate juice
Shake all ingredients except soda with ice until chilled. Pour into champagne glass and top with soda.
The apple, orange, and pomegranate flavors all blend nicely to make a tart, fruity drink that isn’t too sweet.
Last year I made several different infused alcohols. The left two jars are what is left of the summer drinks- peach and nectarine infused gin and nectarine infused gold rum. The right jar is vanilla extract made with fresh beans and vodka; started in September, this extract finally smells and tastes of decadent vanilla.
The peach and nectarine infusions are too sweet for my taste to drink on their own, (they were made with ripe, in-season fruit,) but they are fantastic in cocktails with no other sweet ingredients. You could use them in most classic gin or rum based cocktails. The vanilla extract I made for cooking, but it can also add warmth to cocktails in small amounts.
My next project will be making my own bitters. Classic cocktails always contain bitters, and making my own will allow me more control over finished drinks. I can’t wait until summer, when there will be more fruit available to use as flavoring. In the meantime, I need to find time for a Rainbow Grocery trip to buy bulk herbs and bitter roots.