I love a good cocktail. More than just getting tipsy, it’s the whole process I most adore—perusing the menu and making my selection, watching the bartenders shake what their mamas gave ’em, and settling in for that oh-so-satisfying first sip. I recently spent a night of boozing and schmoozing at the newest addition to the Bourbon and Branch family: The Wilson.

The Wilson (also known as Wilson and Wilson Detective Agency) is a super-confidential, password-protected, reservations-only bar inside the walls of Bourbon and Branch. Upon arrival at my appointed time with my guest (you can only reserve for parties of two), we stated our password and were swept into a hidden ’20s-inspired alley-like space. At our assigned table, we found an enveloped menu complete with the night’s selected cocktail list.

While the cocktail list is a bit intimidating at first (the average drink has about nine ingredients) the bartenders were practically PhDs in mixology and eager to appease our drinkin’ dreams. Similar to a swank-tastic restaurant, guests can choose between the three-course prixe fixe, aperitifs, mains, and digestifs, at $30 or the a la carte menu at $12/cocktail. We obviously took the three-course route.

From the tobacco-infused tinctures to the spritz of butterscotch essence, every cocktail was attended to with the detail of a neurosurgeon. Of the six drinks we tried, our favorite was the Phantom made with cove infused cognac, glenrothes alba reserve, cocchi apertivo, lemon juice, cacao, vanilla syrup, and orange bitters. Try it to believe it.

Drinking at The Wilson is one of those typically San Franciscan experiences that everyone SFian must enjoy at least once. Not only is it an exquisite space paired with expertly-made cocktails, it’s also a feeling of being a little bit naughty—the same way you felt when you snuck shots of Popov Vodka in your parent’s backyard. Afterall, as stressed-out adults, don’t we all need an excuse to behave badly every now and then?

The Wilson: 501 Jones Street; (415) 931-7292

Images courtesy of The Wilson.