Walking through the doors of the historic Clift Hotel in San Francisco, you can almost smell the years of cigar smoke and high powered financial deals that linger in the wood lined lobby. Long the bastion of high powered deal making, the Clift opened it’s doors in 1913 by Frederick Clift on a family property, to serve the Pan Pacific Exposition. Build to survive earthquake and fire, it still stands with the 1924 expansion of three additional floors. At the time, it was the largest hotel in the state, and today, while it is now owned by the Morgans Hotel Group, it still remains much the same as when it initially opened. The dark and brooding Redwood Room cocktail lounge feels like you are stepping back in history, with modern touches. So named for the rich redwood panelled walls, and imposing etched glass and wood bar all pull us back to the original hotel’s glamour and clientele. Enhancing to the unique flair, the Redwood Room boasts digital art work that will change when you are least expecting it – reminding me of a scene out of the cult movie Clue. Clift’s famous and hanging array of digital artwork displayed on plasma television screens hung throughout the room. Snack on gourmet bites while sipping on delicious cocktails and enjoying curated music provided by well-known native San Francisco DJs along with world-class talent Thursday through Saturday nights., Master Mixologist Anthony Kim created the inventive and refreshing cocktail list just in time for Indian Summer, which is when us San Franciscians traditionally get some sunshine. Using the freshest ingredients, these 5 cocktails represent traditional drinks that you might find in any bar, but with a twist of fresh, bright, and unique flavors. King’s Lemonade – Woodford Reserve Rye, fresh lemon juice, basil syrup, strawberry puree A bit like a mai tai, this drink was named for two kings: Bourbon, and basil. This was my 2nd favorite of the night, because, naturally I love bourbon, and the addition of strawberries and basil adds a savory but sweet note that hits the spot. Cool Desire – Grey Goose vodka, passion frut puree, mint syrup, champagne A mimosa that is splashing out to play, the passion fruit and mint play off of each other in a dance of the Sugarplum Fairy, while the vodka adds a cool touch. A smooth and refreshing aperitif. Sandìa Amara – (this is the only drink I did not try) – Avion Silver Tequila, Aperol, Watermelon puree, fresh lime juice, agave, chili-salt no the rim Raspberry Sour – Absolut Elyx vodka, fresh lime juice, ginger syrup, fresh raspberries, Chambord float This was my favorite of the evening, where fresh raspberries were muddled through the shaking process making the drink. The piquantness of the fresh lime juice plays well with the sweet ginger syrup and Chambourd. Clift Painkiller – Bacardi 8 rum, pineapple juice, orange juice, cream of coconut, nutmeg A play on the traditional piña colada, a Painkiller is a great alternative for someone like […]
A few years ago, at my first Craft Cocktail Carnival here in San Francisco, I was fortunate enough to meet Tim Obert and Clint Potter of Seven Stills Vodka. Masters of the craft cocktail movement, I was fortunately enough to taste through some of the unique creations that Tim had lurking in his cabinets. One of those creations was the recently released Meyer Lemon Bitters, a zippy little number just waiting for a cocktail to show it’s beauty. Now, that first bitter moment has given rise to the new line of bitters. To fund this project, they have turned to both a new Bitters Club (which, I clearly need to join given my bitters obsession), and a Kickstarter Campaign for the ages. When Seven Stills started making bitters, they set out to be both unique, and to use fresh, seasona, ingredients nad herbs that aid in digestion and overall health. After all, that is what bitters were created for. Each one of these unique creations is crafted with a base of non-GMO grain spirits (well there’s a new thing to watch for GMOs in! Do you know if Monsanto sponsors your vodka?), and the secret recipe of over 30 herbs and spices, plus the primary flavor of the bitter. This year, they are starting out with Prickly Pear, Cranberry, and classic Cocktail Bitters, to go along with the aforementioned Meyer Lemon Bitters. Remember, bitters is for more than just cocktails! Add a few drops to your water to add some interesting elements. Water does get boring after all.. Suffering a hangover? Add some bitters to tonic water and drink up. The digestive effect of the bitters and the quinine in the tonic (if it’s real tonic) will soothe you in no time Want to know more? Check out the videos and recipies on the Kickstarter Page! Happy drinking!