Sep
17
2013

Cest la vie, Summer

Summer-Selection

Summer is drawing to a close, so I figured now’d be a good time to share my summer menu at Grand Cafe. I wanted to use familiar flavors for the warmer months, with lots of fresh fruit and house-made syrups and cordials. You can find all of the drinks on our recipe page here, but a few of my favorites are as follows.

Bluegrass Sunshine is a variation on the classic whiskey sour using vanilla syrup and sunshine bitters to spice things up a bit. I love how these flavors play together.
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May
24
2013

Gin tasting with Kevin Diedrich

—Christian

Gin-with-Kevin-Diedrich

One of the perks of working for a large hospitality company is having access to talent across the network. In this case, Kevin Diedrich, the bar manager and lauded bartender of Jasper’s Corner Tap and Kitchen. If you’ve met him, you know that Kevin is the nicest guy in the world and an expert in the field, so I was very excited when I found out he was going to be doing a gin tasting at Grand Cafe. Here is what I learned.
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May
08
2013

An Enthusiasts guide to DIY bitters: vol. 1, part 2

—Christian

Three weeks passed and it’s time for step three! First I strained the liquid out through cheesecloth. This initial infusion is very strong on the tongue. There are strong overtones of cardamom with definite notes of clove and citrus (ed. note: the Imbibe recipe calls for coriander, but the author was not 100% sober when he put everything together. Some mistakes may have been made). There is also a big punch of bitter: sour/tart from the dandelion root and deep from the gentian. The wormwood appears to provide a smoothness, like tea. The mint is subtle, at best, although there is a slight menthol effect present. Ginger appears to have been omitted (see note above). Read more »


Apr
17
2013

An Enthusiasts guide to DIY bitters: vol. 1, part 1

—Christian

I’ve thought about making bitters for a while now. So I was quite excited when the Jan/Feb issue of Imbibe magazine (thanks, Amy & Phil!) included a recipe for grapefruit bitters. I’d already been toying with gentian flavors in the form of Salers Gentaine aperitif and really want to understand the potential of bittering agents better. What better a way than to directly work with them myself?

The fundamentals of bitters are essentially the same. Combine bitter things with herbs, spices and other flavorful components in high-proof alcohol and let them sit for a period of time. These bitter things tend to be the roots of flowers, with the gentian root being perhaps the most recognizable (think of the bitterness in Campari, Angostura and Fernet). Salers is a bottling of just that flavor cut with a little sugar, and will give you the full depth of flavor the root has to offer. The recipe (below) also calls for dandelion root, wormwood and whole coriander—among other things, so I headed over to Rainbow Grocery, the SF goldmine for random stuff in jars, to stock up. Read more »


Jan
24
2013

New beginnings

—Christian

My interest in cocktails blossomed my senior year in college. Flush with a little money from a summer job, I dropped probably $600-$700 outfitting my dorm room closet with spirits, modifiers, barware, and glassware of various kinds. And we lived it up for the first couple months of school, while supplies lasted. It was then that I learned how to mix a Manhattan, a proper Martini, and White and Black Russians. I also started to appreciate the nuances of liquor that came from glass bottles with corks vs. plastic ones with removable pour regulators.

Pabst-baby

Prior to that my drinking included the usual high school and college nonsense. I acquired a taste for Old Crow and would go on about how each batch was different and it really varied from bottle to bottle. I loved (and still do) Pabst Blue Ribbon, the hipster champion that actually packs a healthy 5% ABV punch. And I’d occasionally experience cocktails in the company of my ex-bartender parents who appreciated the classics. But it was that dorm closet bar that gave me the first twinges of pride about drink. That made me invest in quality and making sure “it was done right.” And from there a love grew. Read more »


Dec
18
2012

The Enthusiast goes to Santarchy 2012!

Christmas time in San Francisco brought with it the epic pub crawl known as Santarchy. People from all around flocked to the city dressed in seasonal attire and got their drink seriously on. Here are but a few of the moments we captured. See even more on our Facebook page.

Alcohol-Enthusiast-SantaCon-2012-1 The girls warming up at The Boardroom.

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Dec
05
2012

Cheers to Repeal Day

On December 5, 1933, the 18th Amendment passed, ending that time of great debauchery in the U.S. we call Prohibition. Drink up today to celebrate the freedom to drink up. Read more »


Oct
06
2012

East coast trip final leg: Alumni Weekend

­—Christian

Our trip culminated in a return to my alum mater, Vermont Academy, located in the small village of Saxton’s River. VA is a great little school at which I spent three of my formative years and met some really wonderful people. That was ten years ago.

 

Second story corner room of Jones Hall, where it all went down.

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Sep
22
2012

East coast trip day 2: About town

—Christian

Disclaimer: I did not do as a good of a job documenting our beverages this time around. For various reasons.


After our run we met with my cousin and her husband at Momofuku Noodle Bar for lunch. Needless to say, it was amazing. And they had a local, hop-heavy brew on tap that was delectable.

Later on we met with some of Josey’s coworkers at the NYC office and they took us to The Flatiron Lounge. This place is legit. You walk in through an arched hallway into an impossibly dim room decked out in ’20s decor. We were led to a couple tables along the wall with a great view of the bar. The menu is organized by liquor and covers three full pages. Between the four of us we made out way through eight of the cocktails, all amazing in their own right. Read more »


Sep
21
2012

East coast trip day 1: First night out

—Christian

We determined we would take it easy our first night in town. We are San Francisco health-nuts after all and wanted to run in the morning. So of course we stayed out until 3:00am and got wasted.

 

Cafe Orlin: Pinto Noir and the Maple Manhattan

Upon arrival in the East Village we had a great dinner at Cafe Orlin, accompanied by a great glass of Oregon Pinot and what they dubbed the “Maple Manhattan,” a very well-balanced combination of bourbon, lemon maple syrup and salt (the “secret ingredient”). Being from Vermont I obviously had to order this. Read more »


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