Tuesday, May 31, 2011
More often than not, when I walk into a restaurant in SF I am blown away by the mouthwatering concoctions created at the bar before I even sit down to eat. Bartenders all over the city are taking cues from chefs and focusing on whipping up cocktails with top-notch ingredients like artisanal spirits, fresh herbs, and organic fruits.
In a city obsessed with food and wine, I suppose that I shouldn't be surprised that people here take the art of making cocktails seriously. And cocktail powerhouses like Beretta, Bourbon and Branch, Rickhouse, Rye, and The Alembic keep raising the bar.
I think it is fair to say that I have become somewhat of a regular at Beretta since moving to SF. Coincidentally I met with friends at Beretta when I flew into SF for an unforgettable, life-changing trip to Napa about 3 years ago. I remember loving the place but didn't know the name or address, other than the fact that it was in the Mission. You can imagine my surprise when a dear friend took me to the very same place for drinks shortly after I moved out here! It was instant love :)
A couple months ago I took an incredible whiskey-based cocktail class at Beretta where Ryan Fitzgerald, a well-known mixologist, carefully explained how to make a series of whiskey based drinks. Ryan emphasized the importance of the quality of each component of the cocktail and how meticulously the bartenders prepare each drink. A trip to Cask to procure bartender tools and elixirs later, I was ready to make serious cocktails at home. An old fashioned with rye, anyone?
As I became more comfortable making drinks at home, I decided to experiment with my new found love, mezcal. It seems natural that I am a fan of mezcal given my affinity towards peaty, smokey scotch and smokey pinot noir. Armed with a bottle of handmade del Miguey mezcal and wisdom from the cocktail class, I made a refreshing yet intriguing cocktail with the smoky tequila-esque liquor.
Askim (makes 2)
4 oz mezcal
3/4 oz lemon juice
3/4 oz lime juice
2 oz orange juice
2 barspoons of gum syrup (or simple syrup)
1/2 tsp ginger, peeled and diced
top with ginger ale
In a mixer, muddle ginger. Add mezcal, citrus juices, and gum syrup. Fill with ice. Shake well. Place a large cube of ice in the center of each glass. Strain and pour into each glass. Top with ginger ale and garnish with a mint sprig.