September 21, 2010

September 21, 2010
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Dominic Venegas photo by Jenn Farrington.

Looks like ~SAN FRANCISCO COCKTAIL WEEK~ has added yet another slew of events to their schedule, which runs from Tuesday September 21st to Monday September 27th. Remember, most of the following are in addition to the events previously announced, so plan accordingly.

The newly added and updated events are as follows:

Wednesday September 22nd
Elixir Presents The Mixfits Bartender Relief Fundraiser
9pm-2am
Elixir’s Charity Guest Bartending program welcomes professional bartending friends near and far for one very special night: Tony Devencenzi (Bourbon & Branch), Dominic Venegas (Smuggler’s Cove), and Sean Kenyon (Steuben’s in Denver, Colorado) join Elixir’s H. Joseph Ehrmann and Ben Cavara. Tips go to The Bartender Relief Fund while a menu of cocktails will support the Barbary Coast Conservancy of the American Cocktail. The Mixfits will set you straight! Free admission; no-host bar. Elixir, 3200 16th St. at Guerrero.

Thursday September 23rd
Classic Cocktails Through a Modern Lens
3pm-5pm
Learning how to mix a serious cocktail at home with quality ingredients is as important as knowing how to cook a great meal. These days, however, while many people bake their own bread or make their own pasta, they don’t spend the same attention on crafting a perfect cocktail. Your domestic mixology will achieve loftier heights than you’ve ever imagined after this class with Jennifer Colliau, a bartender at Heaven’s Dog and The Slanted Door, and creator of Small Hand Foods, a local company dedicated to reproducing forgotten sweeteners and mixing ingredients. She’s joined by Erik Ellestad, a bartender at Heaven’s Dog and The Alembic who has garnered national fame for his Savoy Cocktail book project—making every drink in alphabetical order. $25 per person. Heaven’s Dog, 1148 Mission St. at 7th St.

Science of Absinthe at the California Academy of Sciences
6pm-10pm
Ted Breaux from Lucid Absinthe gives an enlightening presentation on “The Science of Absinthe,” presented by BBC Elite, as part of the renowned California Academy of Sciences weekly NightLife events. Every Thursday, adults over 21 are invited to enjoy music, science, entertainment, and cocktails, while experiencing the Academy’s world-class exhibits and having fun with friends. This night also features Velocity Circus, Science Tarot, DJ sets by Mad Science, and live music by Geographer and Kill Moi. $12 per person; tickets available exclusively at the Academy of Sciences. California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Dr.

Saturday September 25th
Martin Cate’s History of the Fern Bar
1pm-3pm
The fern bar is a now much-maligned but important part of the history of American taverns. From its humble beginnings in San Francisco at Henry Africa’s in 1970, it launched a style and concept that was spread nationwide, widely seen in film and television, and led to international chains like TGI Friday’s. Known for its own distinct culture, atmosphere, and cocktails, the fern bar is credited by some as the birthplace of the Lemon Drop and was home to the Harvey Wallbanger, wine spritzer, Tequila Sunrise, and lots of drinks with ice cream. Much of the iconography and style of the fern bar was the result of one man, Norman Hobday, who, like a latter-day Don The Beachcomber, created a wholly new concept based on the idea that bars should be inviting and comfortable, like your grandmother’s living room. Much like Don before him, he adopted a persona (“Henry Africa”), and even shared Don’s penchant for Safari Suits. (Unlike Don, Norman is still with us today—he now owns a San Francisco fern bar called Eddie Rickenbacker’s, famous for their rare motorcycle collection, Tiffany lamps, and the legendary Norman himself.) In this fun-filled seminar, Martin Cate, owner of Smuggler’s Cove in San Francisco, will lead you on a discovery of one of the great eccentrics of San Francisco. You’ll study the drinks of the era, so prepare to experience cocktails that challenge your concept of “good.” Polyester attire strongly encouraged. $25 per person. Elixir, 3200 16th St. at Guerrero.

The Return of Absinthe—the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
2:30pm-4:30pm
Join renowned absinthe distillers Ted Breaux of Lucid, Peter Schaf of Vieux Pontarlier, and Lance Winters of locally distilled St. George for this finely shaken panel discussion that gives the real lowdown on this famous classic spirit, and find out why it was a staple in every respectable cocktail bar during the pre-Prohibition era. Our resident experts will safely guide you through dangerous waters as they discuss the contemporary absinthe renaissance, clear the fog of persistent misconceptions that give the spirit a bad reputation, and explain the need for a proper legal definition to protect you, the consumer. This petite soirée includes tastings of classic absinthe cocktails, accompanied by valuable insight into vintage absinthe mixology, and why it remains a black art in the modern era. And naturally, the three accomplished distillers/historians who lead our discussion will have a sampling of their absinthes on hand, so bring your questions, an appetite for information, and a thirst for classic absinthe cocktails. $20 per person (ticket includes tastes of each distiller’s flagship absinthe, snacks provided by Comstock Saloon, and a few green-fairy inspired surprises). Comstock Saloon, 155 Columbus Ave. at Kearny.

Cocktail Crawl: Drinking with Dominic
Join one of San Francisco’s bartending legends, Dominic Venegas, as he takes you on a personal walking and drinking tour of his favorite historical establishments in San Francisco. You can join any time, and Dominic will do his best to follow the schedule below. Free admission; no-host bars. Complete Cocktail Crawl schedule.

Tours of Distillery No. 209
1pm and 2pm
Get a rare behind-the-scenes glimpse of Distillery No. 209! Join head Ginerator, Arne Hillesland, at Pier 50 in San Francisco, who will take you through the basics of distillation and demonstrate what makes 209 a modern gin with a distinct balance of citrus and juniper notes. A gin lover or not sure, you may discover something to confirm your love or convert you forever. Free; reservation REQUIRED in advance by emailing Wendi. Space is limited. 50 Pier, #B.

Sunday, September 26th
Hangar One Cocktail Cookout on the Island
Barbecue: 2pm-6pm; Guided Tours: 3pm, 4pm, and 5pm
The East Bay’s best bartenders are teaming up with Fatted Calf for a meaty, boozy outdoor festival, pairing barbecue with ice-cold cocktails and a cocktail competition under the sun at the renowned Hangar One distillery in Alameda. Ticket includes a round-trip ferryboat ride featuring Hangar One cocktails (designed and served by Master Mixologist Scott Beattie of HMS Cocktails) from San Francisco’s Ferry Building and shuttle transportation to BART to and from the Hangar One Distillery. $50 per person (ticket includes barbeque, cocktails, and round-trip transportation from SF Ferry Building and BART. On-site parking is free.) St. George Spirits Distillery (AKA Hangar One), 2601 Monarch St. (on the former Naval Base), Alameda.

Hangar One Ferry and Shuttle Schedule, free with ticket purchase:
1:15pm-1:30pm FERRY: Boat loads at SF Ferry Building (please be on time!)
1:45pm Ferry departs from SF to Alameda
2pm BART: Shuttle pick up at West Oakland station
3pm BART: Shuttle pick up at West Oakland station
5:45pm-6:15pm FERRY: Shuttles depart Hangar One for return trip to SF Ferry Building
6:30pm BART: Final shuttle departs to West Oakland Station
6:15pm-7pm Ferry Boat return trip to SF Ferry Building

I-talian I-ranian American Spaghetti Feed
8pm Negronis; 9pm Sangiovese, Antipasti, Spaghetti & Meatballs; 10pm Tiramisu and Grappa
Chefs Erik Hopfinger of Long Bar and Hoss Zaré of Zaré at Fly Trap are proud to offer a menu reflecting seasonal, regional dishes you won’t want to refuse for Sunday Supper. Wear your favorite velour tracksuit or elastic-waisted trouser; you are going to eat big. $22.98 per person (includes dinner, glass of wine, and tax; exclusive of gratuity). Advance ticket purchase not required; reservations recommended. Please RSVP to info@longbarsf.com. Long Bar, 2298 Fillmore St. at Clay.

PS This isn’t on the official schedule (hey, he’s from New York), but this Wednesday from 6pm-close, Beretta will welcome cocktail ace Alexander Day, formerly of New York cocktail destination Death & Company, to tend bar. He’ll serve up four cocktails, inspired both from his days at Death & Co. and by upcoming consulting projects: Aperitivo Julep (Dry Vermouth, Amaro, Crème de Pêche); Grand Street (Beefeater Gin, Punt e Mes, Cynar, Maraschino, Grapefruit); Conquistadora (Tequila, Mezcal, Blanc Vermouth, Yellow Chartreuse, Strawberry); and Spry Friar (Gin, Honey, Lemon, Pineapple, Absinthe). Beretta, 1199 Valencia St. at 23rd St., 415-695-1199.

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Here’s a chance to show that this is an industry and a city that rallies when one of their own is in need. Please consider attending the ~SCOTT VERSUS CANCER BENEFIT~, with a raffle and prizes, at Thieves Tavern on Monday September 27th, 5pm-1:30am.

Spruce staff member Scott Lawrence was recently diagnosed with stage four tongue cancer, and now Spruce Restaurant, Café des Amis, Pizza Antica, Mayfield Bakery & Cafe, The Village Pub, and Thieves Tavern are hosting this benefit to support an unfortunate young man who is in for the fight of his life. Though luckily Scott has Kaiser insurance, with his recent surgery, he will be out of work for a minimum of four months. To help him maintain his present living situation while he recovers, they’re asking that we find it in our hearts and wallets to help impact this young man’s life.

If you would like additional information or would like to donate raffle items, please contact Alvin Abrian at 510-325-6231. You can view Scott’s progress and information at scottversuscancer.com or on Twitter @scottgotcancer.

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From September 28th to October 4th, Wines of Puglia will be holding the first ever ~PUGLIA WINE WEEK~ in the US, with noted winemakers from the Puglia region of southern Italy visiting major US cities, including San Francisco. These wines will be presented in the US for the first time, with many at very accessible prices. Specialty menus and pairings, in which four wines from each vineyard will be paired with Apulian-inspired dishes by the chefs, will be offered at the following restaurants through the week of the promotion:

  • A16 will feature wines from Tormaresca; Francesco Domini, the company’s wine director, will present his wines on September 28th at 7:30pm.
  • Incanto will feature wines from Vallone; Giuseppe Malazzini, the winery owner, will meet the public on September 30th at 7pm.
  • La Ciccia will feature wines from biodynamic Cefalicchio; owner Nicola Rossi will attend a special dinner on October 4th.

Also during Puglia Wine Week, the public and wine professionals can taste an extensive selection of great wines from Puglia that represent all the main areas of the region at The Jug Shop, including labels from the following wineries: Albea, Barsento, Cefalicchio, D’Alfonso del Sordo, Due Palme, Li Veli, Tormaresca, Vallone, and Vigne & Vini.

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Celebrate Japan’s Day of Sake by joining in the festivities at the ~5TH ANNUAL SAKE DAY~ on Friday October 1st at the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California (JCCCNC) in San Francisco’s Japantown. Sake Day 2010 will feature sake tastings from dozens of sake vendors and breweries, food and sake pairing stations, live Okinawan music by Sushi Cal Band, raffles, prizes, and more. Event presenters True Sake and Nombe Restaurant (Mari Takahashi, her husband and sake sommelier Gil Payne, and executive chef Nick Balla) will offer Japanese cuisine and street food to pair with amazing sakes. Other participants include Joto Sake, Take no Tsuyu Brewery (Japan), the Japan Prestige Sake Association, Hakuro Brewery, and the Akita Sake Promotion and Export Council.

Tickets are $75 through September 30th, and $80 at the door. (Don’t forget your valid ID.) Funds raised from the event will benefit the JCCCNC’s cultural, educational, recreational, and social programs.