Drinking in San Francisco

Ram's Horn

I’m on the plane sitting in the exit row (more leg room ftw). The sky is trying very hard to be the color of Saturday morning cartoon water, and it’s doing a wonderful job heralding the beautiful 68 degree San Francisco weather I’ll be enjoying for the next 12 days. Beyond attending a conference for my real job, I’ll be doing my best to hit every damn bar in the city. Well, at least the upstanding citizens of the group. Food will be sought with berserker-like intensity and function as my moral compass for each and every decision. But more importantly, and don’t tell them, I’m as excited as a puppy with peanut butter to hang out with some old friends, cocktail geeks, and ardent enemies (sorry Matt).

If all goes well, and I fully expect it not to, I’ll be chronicling my efforts here on KP. As Evil Matt, Gabe, Camper, lovely Char, Erik, Michele, Adam, Jonno, and Matt already know, I have changed my name to Scheduletron 4000 two weeks ago. This basically means I’ve been spitting out so many planning emails that I might as well be playing a game of Diplomacy. And yes, I’ve even created a google map with all of the restaurants and bars I hope to visit (note my hotel right in the middle of them). I think this was the point that Camper asked me to stop emailing him…

So here is my list, in no particular order, of where I hope to galavant, imbibe, and stuff my gaping maw:

Bars / Restaurants


As I’ll surely mention later this week, all those lovely people I listed above are going to be attending the American Distillery Conference, but more excitingly, jamming glass to metal for a live Thrusday Drink Night. The theme is Metaxa, and I hope to make it out alive.


What? You thought I’d leave you without a drink? About a month ago, I cracked my virgin bottle of Ramazotti and it’s produced a nimiety of pimpin’ praises. First off, it’s the most wonderful color of dried blood. Second, it’s an Italian bitter. Wait one second. Isn’t there another Italian bitter that I’m fond of? Curse me, I simply cannot remember it. I don’t have my bottle on hand at 38,000 feet to properly write tasting notes, so I’ll try to wing it.

Orange is predominant, but think dried out and scrunched up like raisins. You know, like what an orange that’s had a few too many citrus twists removed from it looks like after sitting on your counter for a week. Next is a sweet vermouth roundness that makes me want to go drink a big glass of Carpano. And finally, it plants an carefully-devised bitter herb garden in your mouth that would make even the most stoic Chartreusan monk green with envy.

Ram’s Horn

  • 1 1/2oz gin (something citrusy and assertive like Tanqueray 10)
  • 1oz Ramazzotti
  • 1t cinnamon syrup
  • 1 dash absinthe
  • 1 dash rhubarb bitters
  • 1 dash celery bitters
  • orange peel, for garnish

Stir with cracked ice and quiet restraint. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with an orange peel, or tree.

Rick from Kaiser Penguin

KP Questions

    1. Are there any places I’ve missed?
    2. What are the top three spots in each category?

8 Responses to “Drinking in San Francisco”

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8 Comments to “ Drinking in San Francisco”
  1. tkwNo Gravatar says:

    if you end up looking for drink in the east bay, i recommend pizzaiolo, camino, flora, and cesar (oakland > berkeley). i haven’t been to some of the newer oakland restaurants, and im also not an expert.

    re drinking in sf, ive been wanting to hit dosa on fillmore, and rye. re stuffing gaping maw, if you are into oysters, imo hog island oysters is unparalleled.

  2. NWNo Gravatar says:

    Drinks at Berreta,Presidio Social Club, La Mar, Range and 15 Romolo should be considered as well.

  3. Of all the great food I’ve had in the bay area, the place I’d recommend if you haven’t been there before is the Tadich Grill.

    Warning: its not for everyone. You have to have an appreciation for fine dining, circa 1920. There will be no wasabi-chipotle aioli or pretty-boy waiters kneeling by your table to chat about the evening specials. Servers will be knowledgeable, but gruff, and mostly out-of-the-way; as the old bankers would have wanted their three-martini lunches to be.

    If you enjoy fresh seafood on its own merits, without a lot of other flare or distraction, definitely go for the Petrale sole, and maybe an order of sand dabs. Otherwise, the cioppino, which is superlative.

    It may or may not be worth noting that next door is Aqua, which was all the fucking rage like 8 years ago, but my knowledge of cocktails was much less then, so I can’t speak to their merits in that regard. They did, at the time, have their own private release of Germain-Robin Alambic brandy that was quite nice.

  4. MarkNo Gravatar says:

    Ah, if only I’d seen this last week, my horizons would have been expanded.

    If you get down to the Peninsula, Beltramo’s is worth a stop:

  5. AndyNo Gravatar says:

    The best scotch store I’ve ever been in is in SF. Worth a visit, if just to look at their 100+ bottles.

  6. Hey Rick
    I think you’re missing the Bay Area’s best tiki bar: Forbidden Island Tiki Lounge in Alameda.


  7. TiareNo Gravatar says:

    I`ve never been to SF so i have nothing to say but all i can say is that that Ramazotti cocktail looks REAL good and the garnish……


  8. […] swizzles, both very flavourful which i`m sure will be featured over at Kaiserpenguin with some amazing photos and breathtaking […]

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Kaiser Penguin is a cocktail blog featuring original recipes, homemade ingredients, classic cocktails, and tiki drinks.

Why on Earth did you name your blog “Kaiser Penguin?”

It is a well-known fact that penguins are members of high society and enjoy fine cocktails. Our very own kaiser penguin would like me to mention that he also enjoys various treats from the sea.