May 24, 2013

Drinks on the Road, San Francisco, Part II, Absinthe, Plus the Pegu

Beyond Blackbird (which I detailed earlier and which I was a big big fan of), when I was in San Francisco recently I also stopped in at Absinthe Brasserie and Bar. First off, let me mention that I accompanied the wonderful and charming Sally and Corinne from the Lisa Ekus agency (the best agent, pr, media training, and more firm in the firmament) and some other folks associated with that fine orgnaization. If you have company like this, well, the restaurant or lounge you’re lounging in can probably serve almost anything and you’ll have a dandy time. However, if the drinks are as good as they were at Absinthe, the evening goes quickly up to wonderful. I started my drinking with a Ginger Rodgers, which is a variation on a drink called, simply, “Favorite Cocktail” from the classic pocket-sized cocktail book Drinks, written by Jacques Straub in 1914. It was everything a first drink before dinner should be: light-but-flavorful, bubbly, and a good appetite inducer:

After that, I was eating some delicious food (the mac-and-cheese was especially nice – and I should have taken a pic but was too busy eating and talking), and wanted something with a lot of flavor to accentuate the edibles. I went with a classic: the Pegu, from way back in the 1920s. It was tasty, tangy, and with a kick:

Heck, you should have one at home if you never have. It’s famous and fabulous. Here’s the recipe from Ginger Bliss and the Violet Fizz:

Ice cubes

1-1/2 ounces gin

3/4 ounce Pierre Ferrand orange curaçao

1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice

Dash of orange bitters

Dash of Angostura bitters

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the gin, orange curaçao, lime juice, and both bitters. Shake well.

2. Strain into a cocktail glass, and dream of days when this classic was (according to Harry Craddock in The Savoy Cocktail Book) a drink “that has traveled, and is asked for, round the world.”

After the Pegu, I had something with whiskey that I forgot to write down as the conversation was in full swing. But it was good, so just try all the whiskey drinks and you’ll get there. Here’s a photo, anyway:

Overall, an amazingly awesome evening spent with some of the swellest folks in the land, some delicious cocktails, and some scrumptious eats in a classy-but-comfy spot. Absinthe gets a “A” in my book (if I had some sort of book I put letters in, that is).

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