Appetite: Highlights of SF Cocktail Week, part 2

That fizzy, magical week during which cocktails take over our fair city has just washed over us. Here are more highlights — check out part 1 here.

9/26 – Cocktail Cookout on the Island  

 Though it’s a toss-up between the Cocktail Carnival and the St. George/Hangar One cookout for best event of the week, sheer fun and beauty was unrivaled on the stunning Sunday boat cruise to and from Alameda (entire boat for Cocktail Week attendees only). None other than Scott Beattie served cocktails for the scenic boat ride. It was a hot, over 80 degree day so Beattie’s creations topped with Thai coconut foam and apple chip or dotted with edible flowers cooled us off in the most gourmet of ways. Massive navy ships in Alameda’s port made for a dramatic unloading point.

At the ever festive St. George/Hangar One distillery, there was BBQ (pulled pork from Fatted Calf), East Bay bartenders shaking up ice-cold cocktails, umbrellas and wading pools in the massive lot with views of the city across the Bay. Claire of Claire’s Squares served seductively lush dark chocolate squares which she hand-filled with St. George brandy in a caramel sauce and topped with sea salt. Damn. Tours of the distillery, a DJ spinning reggae and hip hop and bright sun made for a cookout to trump all cookouts.

But nothing could top that ferry ride home… pristine horizons, a rosy orange sunset illuminating our fair San Francisco with a gentle glow, warm air and rounds of Firelit Coffee liqueur. Amidst much laughter with friends, I leaned over the side of the boat letting the spray of the waves caress my face as city lights begin to ignite before me. I knew, once again, the grateful wonder and privilege of living in a place so magically stunning. 

9/25 – The Return of Absinthe at Comstock 

 Absinthe distillers Peter Schaf of Vieux Pontarlier, Lance Winters of St. George, and Ted Breaux of Lucid, formed the panel for two hours of all things absinthe. Their expertise and knowledge is dizzying. It was a crucial intro for those who dabble in the green fairy, clarifying the difference between real absinthe distilled from herbs and the unnaturally colored and flavored “absinthes” that flood the market.  Absinthe’s history, art and paraphernalia, as well as “terroir” and sourcing of herbs, were all discussed… with occasionally rowdy laughter from comments such as the one about syphilis (don’t ask).Comstock Saloon was the perfect setting, serving us three impeccably-prepared (and in gorgeous classic glassware) absinthe cocktails, including a Sazerac and Brunelle, as well as savory snacks from their kitchen.

9/26 – I-talian I-ranian Spaghetti Feed

Negronis, Sangiovese, antipasti, spaghetti and meatballs (traditional Italian from Long Bar chef Erik Hopfinger, as well as Hoss Zaré of Zaré at Fly Trap‘s – famed Iranian meatballs), ending with tiramisu and grappa. This was Sunday night (plus red-checkered tablecloths) at Reza Esmaili’s Long Bar for the I-talian I-ranian American Spaghetti Feed. Some took the tip, wearing velour tracksuits or elastic-waisted trousers: trashy and tacky, ready to fill up after a long day in the sun at St. George. It was all delicious – a special kudos to Hoss’ decadent surprise meatball stuffing of foie gras, duck, fig and date.