Friday, July 16, 2010

Savory Cocktails with CUESA and more!

When it comes to cocktails I may not know how to make them but I know what I like. And I like that I won a pair of tickets to the CUESA savory cocktail from the fabulous Drink Me magazine, an event which gave me the opportunity to try drinks from some of the mixologists in San Francisco.

I love events such as this one; you get a chance to try so many varieties of greatness and you don’t have to go far to do it. This was a cocktail crawl of magnificent proportions: all savory and made from the freshest ingredients found at the farmer’s market.

Kate Bolton from Wexler’s had one hell of an amazing cocktail, refreshingly light with fennel, oranges and a spritz of Absinthe. I could easily see this as a welcome addition to any brunch menu with its cool flavors and clean stimulating balance.

Kyle Ford made us a Jaguar Sun, tequila, oranges and the Aztec Elixir (a coffee syrup that would make even the most coffee wary a convert.) He let us try it alone and the thick rich syrup made me want to take it home and make ice cream with it. Or maybe something with mascarpone and fruit.

Michael Callahan of Gitane brought home a winner with a lamb neck sausage infused bourbon based cocktail that blended with Cynar, lavender bitters and a garnish of radish and sausage that made the drink tastier and interactive. I liked the combo of the sausage with the cocktail, but I loved the cocktail with the radish. Since it had a spicy back, the radish was perfect to help balance it out.

Lauren Kino of Plum had an appetizer of pork and peaches, a concoction that was simply lovely. The flavor combination was a total winner. Now I am even more excited about the impending opening of Plum here on my side of the Bay!

This is the second time I have been able to sample the wares of Tacolicious, which I think is worth seeking out. The offering here was a crispy taco with a bean spread, shredded pork and cabbage that was so delicious it makes my mouth water just to think about it!

Comstock Saloon had a pisco sour (with secret green liquid, oooh!) and Carlos Espinas’ take on a hangtown fry: crisp bread with a pickled egg, crispy bacon and oyster vinaigrette. This was inventive and fun, crispy in all the right spots.

Robert Gonzales, the USBG Nor Cal ambassador, was the best showman of the night, presenting a gorgeously composed lime, egg white, cilantro, tequila cocktail with spicy sea salt and bitters made with pepper skins. It was fun watching him slap the cilantro and double shake the cocktails!

The GLBT Proud Mary from Greg Lindgren at Rye went for interactive as well, with lettuce and baconnaise on white bread paired with a lettuce, gin, bacon & tomato cocktail for dipping. I wasn’t crazy about the cocktail alone, but as a dipper, you don’t get much better! And thank you to the delightful Heather as our interactive model!

Far and away my favorites were the blendings by the peeps at 15 Romolo: Katy Borzee rocked with the unexpected but smashing combo of white bean puree with peaches and crispy bacon. Never would I have thought of peaches and white beans together, but tasting my way through the rest of the apps, this one stood out strongly in my mind.

Her bar counterpart, the equally adorable Ethan Terry brought it all home with the Sherman Breakdown, pink peppercorns, fresh sage, nutmeg, Luxardo, cahacha and the piece de résistance: smoked apricots! This cocktail had everything I wanted; it was rich, smoky and elegant.

This cocktail blended all that a savory cocktail should be, and was indeed a shining star in the drink heavens.

This is by far one of the best events I have gotten to attend: amazing drinks, wonderful people, the beauty of San Francisco and my friend Heather, who was nice enough to come with me and enjoy the bounty of the farmer's market based cocktails! Can't wait for the next one!


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  2. That was such a fun party, thank you for inviting me! Man, those cocktails and appies were amazing! I'm so glad Kyle posted his recipe for the elixir. I think that would make a perfect Christmas gift this year, don't you?


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