Last week, we featured three San Francisco bars offering warm cocktails – Elixir, Jasper’s and Brasserie S&P. Here are a few more spots we tried recently with killer drinks.
A quick preface – I don’t drink coffee or hot chocolate. In fact, I have probably drank less than five cups combined in my entire life. That makes trying some of the winter drinks a bit difficult, but I’ve fought my way through that “bias.” So on a cold Wednesday night, I took on four bars/restaurants and let’s just say, I had no problem keeping warm.
Stop #1: Rye – While Rye did not really have a warm drink on the bar menu, I asked them to make something up for me (it has been a go-to on these drinking adventures). Out came a Hot Toddy. Best one I’ve had yet in San Francisco. Warm, plenty of booze and really the right mix. I’ve had some Hot Toddy’s that just don’t taste like cocktails; this one really did. Rye is located at 688 Geary Street.
Stop #2: Tradition – I walked down the street, happy with drink #1 of the evening. Decided to stop into Tradition which has quickly become one of my favorite spots this year. I love the vibe and love the drinks even more. Asked for a warm cocktail again and they told me about a concoction that I don’t believe is on either menu – Mexican Hot Chocolate (not sure if that’s the exact name, but they’ll know what you mean if you order it). The mix of Mezcal and Tequila was not overpowering at all but what really got me was the nice spiciness to the drink – it had a nice kick to it. Be sure to check the bar out in the next week or two as more new Winter cocktails are set to be unveiled. Tradition is located at 441 Jones Street.
Stop #3: Fifth Floor – I have loved Brian Means creative cocktails for a long time. And his warm cocktails this year are no different. One that is currently on the menu is the Wide-Eyed Sailor (1.5 oz Sailor Jerry Rum, 0.5 oz Galliano Ristretto, 1 oz Honey Syrup, 5 oz Tropical Green Tea, garnish of fresh shaved cinnamon). A refreshing, well-balanced cocktail and nice for a tea drinker.
He also tossed his latest concoction at me (it still has not been named though we tried our best). Means said he’s not sure how long it will be on the menu. The drink consisted of Fernet, Hot Chocolate, Cacao Nibs and Homemade Marshmallows. Let’s just say I’m hoping Brian keeps it on the menu for awhile, a real showstopper. Fifth Floor is located inside the Hotel Palomar at 12 4th Street.
Stop #4: Rich Table – Bartender Jason LoGrasso just recently took over the bar at Rich Table and has come up with a killer cocktail list. I went straight to the dessert menu, which featured some warm cocktail options. First up was the Carthusian Hot Cocoa (Chartruese, mint, pineapple marshmallows). This was wonderful and delicious. The Chartruese really worked perfectly. If there wasn’t alcohol present, I would call this a perfect drink for kids. Next was the Rich Coffee (Fernet, Sightglass coffee, pistachio cream, gold). Not being a coffee fan, I could still see myself drinking this everyday. Just a really good mix and the coffee was not overpowering at all. I also tasted the Egg Nog which is another wonderful option.
Four bars and restaurants, 4+ hours, seven drinks (I didn’t include the wonderful Ardberg Supremacy at Tradition on my list) and one sardine chip later, I must say it was a wonderful evening, dinner be damned! All in the name of research.
Main Photo: Rich Coffee at Rich Table