Sunday, October 18, 2009

Best Bar in San Francisco

I love a good cocktail and no one in San Francisco does it better than Absinthe - a place that not only makes a great drink, but creates their own recipes, in an eclectic and perennially hip atmosphere.

Maybe it’s the location in Hayes Valley where musicians, actors and young professionals collide.  Or maybe it is the French brasserie style, although much nicer than any French brasserie in Paris.  If I had to pin Absinthe’s success on any one thing, though, I would have to go with the excellent and creative handmade drinks, every single time.  (And maybe the French Onion Soup which is amazing.)

On our last visit, we were lucky enough to be introduced to one of the authors of the book, Jeff Hollinger, with whom we shared a story and a cocktail, of course.  For a dinner party in Paris, we were asked to bring a dish that used sage.  So, turning to The Art of the Bar, we found a peach and sage cocktail that we thought would win praise from our friends.  Unfortunately, since peaches were out of season, we used frozen apricots which resulted in unappetizing, syrupy drinks.  After a laugh and a quick check for the arrival of the day’s produce, Jeff decided to show us how it was done and made us an incredible Peaches and Herb cocktail that would have been a hit at our party. 

Fortunately for us mere mortals, they have published a recipe book so we can attempt them at home…

From traditional Manhattans to the sensational Sensation and the Perfect Pear (which we served at our wedding), the cocktails are creative and excellent, and the book explains why.  It is a combination of fresh ingredients, quality spirits and balance.  And the book is quite funny too…check out the pages about how to get over a hangover.

Absinthe is our first, and sometimes also our last, stop whenever we are in San Francisco. And when we can’t be there, at least we have an opportunity to try to make, what we consider, the best cocktails in the world.


Absinthe Brasserie & Bar, 398 Hayes Street, San Francisco, CA, 94102, 415-551-1590

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