April 5th, 2011

I’ve tried for many years to forget about Mezcal. The one with the worm in the bottle. You know it. Pretty terrible. Well luckily there are many more brands on the market here in SF, and a few that work quite well in cocktails. Here’s a great twist on one of my all time favorites- The Last Word – from The Varnish in L.A.

The Other Word

2 oz. Del Maguey Vida mezcal
1/4 oz. yellow Chartreuse
1 oz. fresh Lime juice
1/4 oz. agave nectar
1 barspoon maraschino liqueur
Ice cubes
Large ice cube or sphere
Tools: shaker, strainer
Glass: rocks

Combine all ingredients and shake. Strain over a large ice cube or sphere into a chilled rocks glass.


November 26th, 2010

It’s the day after Thanksgiving, and if your fridge looks anything like ours, it’s full of leftovers. Sure, you can slather a turkey sandwich with all that extra cranberry sauce, but we’ve got a better idea—make a cocktail! Our Cranberry Cobbler cocktail is a cinch to make and a great way to keep your house guests happy over the holiday weekend. Cobbler-style cocktails incorporate sugar and fruit, and in this cobbler-inspired recipe, cranberry sauce fills that role, offering a perfect counterpoint to rich, spiced rum—the addition of OJ and a couple of dashes of Angostura bitters sweeten the deal just right. Enjoy the rest of your holiday weekend!

Cranberry Cobbler
2 oz. spiced rum
1 oz. orange juice
2 barspoons cranberry sauce (see note)
2 dashes Angostura bitters
Ice cubes
Tools: shaker, strainer, fine-mesh strainer
Glass: small cocktail or coupe
Garnish: orange twist

Combine all ingredients in a shaker with the ice and shake. Double strain into a chilled glass and garnish. Note: We found that using a sweeter cranberry sauce eliminated the need for any additional sweetener, but if your sauce is on the tart side, you might want to add a little simple syrup to taste.

From our friends at the Imbibe Kitchen


July 12th, 2010

Our 4th of July vacation this year was spent north of the border in beautiful British Columbia, Canada. We started off with some water-skiing and local Riesling tasting (and drank a few of our killer Creole Watermelon Margaritas) on Lake Okanagan before heading to Vancouver to check what impact the Olympics had on the local restaurant and bar scene.  As former residents, we were extra curious. As soon as we arrived at our hotel (in our old neighborhood near Stanley Park) we ditched our bags and headed straight to Lift Bar & Grill. Run by my former colleague Steve Lopsinger, this beautiful restaurant is perched right over the water on Coal Harbor.  His wine list is stocked with sustainable, organic and biodynamic wines from B.C. as well as around the globe. With his direction, we settled on two glasses of Austrian Gruner Veltliner, which we ended up enjoying almost as much as the view.

Next stop was the Salt Tasting Room in Gastown. Brick, wood and candles welcomed us to this small, cozy space stocked with artisan cheese and charcuterie. There were 40+ wines by the glass, along with a rotating selection of 12 cheeses, 12 meats and a half a dozen sides including quince paste and cornichons. We shared a tasty sampler platter before heading down to nearby Boneta for cocktails and a helping of Poutine (a Quebec staple of hand-cut fries, cheese curds and gravy!) I had the Harlequin: London Dry Gin, Chartreuse, Absinthe, lime juice, honey and egg white, while Melissa tried the Ms. Morris made with white port, Pinneau des Charentes, Campari, fresh grapefruit, elderflower syrup. Both were fantastic!

Our final destination was one we had been looking forward to the most, a fabulous spot called The Diamond. Opened less than a month ago by three of the city’s top bartenders, this was our favorite stop on the tour. Beautiful chandeliers and a dozen windows overlooking the cobblestone square below made a great impression on arrival, but the cocktails made the real impact. We tried quite a few in the name of ‘research’ and they were all terrific. A couple of favorites were the classic Pink Lady made with raspberry syrup in place of grenadine, and the Bicicletta #2 with Campari, Punt e Mas and Gerwerztraminer with a grapefruit twist. With that it was last call and our visit to the new Vancouver was over.  Bravo!

One last note: Congratulations to Barb Phillip on her Master of Wine induction. It’s by far the most prestigious title in the wine world and as first Canadian woman(and only the fifth in North America) it is even more impressive. I am very thankful to have had her as a mentor while I was behind the bar at The Fish House in Stanley Park so many years ago. Cheers!