Grub Guides

7 Swell New Spring Cocktails From S.F.’s Better Bars

Coqueta's Barca Gintonic.
Coqueta’s Barca Gintonic. Photo: J. Barmann/Grub Street

Two weeks ago we took a look at the state of the American cocktail, via bars in all 50 states. Today, we bring you a more local lens on things, via seven drinks at local bars that celebrate spring. These aren’t all green, vegetation-laden concoctions as is the current trend, though one of them is — and there’s another trend you can observe here: vinegars. But these are all fine boozing choices for those in search of some bright and refreshing flavor combinations for these warmer days.

The Barça Gintonic at Coqueta - This totally refreshing, aromatic, Spanish-style gin and tonic features Bloom London Dry gin, Fever Tree Mediterranean-style tonic, grapefruit, juniper berries, and local pine.

Pis(co) and Vinegar at The Hideout - Bartender Jason Guarnieri Larsen recently featured this drink, a tart and refreshing cooler that went down way too fast. It’s a mixture of Campo de Encanto pisco, plum-infused gin, lemon, and a splash of tamarind vinegar. 3121 16th Street (in back of Dalva)

American Pastoral at AQ - We’d say this is the most refreshing of the new, very veggie-heavy drinks on the spring menu at AQ. Barman Tim Zohn created the drinks as a kind of fuck you to everyone who’s mocked California bars for their muddled-herb and farmers’ market fruit drinks calling them “salad in a glass.” Thus he went whole hog with carrot juice, arugula, and you name it, but our favorite is this green twist on the French 75, with gin, champagne, lemon, and snap pea syrup.

A Riesling for Mojitos at Cantina - Barman Duggan McDonnell recently added this riff on the ever-popular muddled wonder, the Mojito. It features the necessary mint and lime, with cognac and and a bright Riesling for a sweet, warm-weather sipper.

The Roffignac Cocktail at Hard Water - Looking for a delicious, easy-to-drink highball? This would be it. It’s a combination of rye, grapefruit, soda, and a 19th Century ingredient that bar master Erik Adkins had to recreate: red hembarig syrup (which itself was probably a historical misspelling of himbeeressig syrup), which is a raspberry vinegar syrup.

The Laura Palmer at Blackbird - A clear and spiritous drink on Blackbird’s new menu stars St. George’s Terroir gin, the very balsam-piney ode to Mt. Tam that’s notoriously tough to mix with. The drink is surprisingly smooth and bracing, with the pine of the gin balanced out by sweet Lillet Blanc, and Benedictine.

Sideways Tilt at Maven - And the list wouldn’t complete without a nod to tequila. Bar manager Kate Bolton created a subtle, and subtly green variation on the margarita with this straight-up mixture of blanco and reposado tequilas, Cara Cara orange, spring herbs (primarily Greek oregano), and a touch of apple vinegar.

Earlier: The Latest Trend in Cocktails: Kale and Spinach?
Cocktail Country: Outstanding Drinks From All 50 States

7 Swell New Spring Cocktails From S.F.’s Better Bars