Drink of the week: the Sunday Smash

I’m pretty sure the first time I ever had a whiskey smash was at Slow Club, about five years ago. Now it’s my all-time favorite brunch drink. The mint and lemon make the drink crisp and refreshing, but the unmasked malty bourbon reminds you that it’s really irresponsible to be ordering drinks like this in the middle of the day.

Slow Club calls their version the Sunday Smash, and it’s still the best one I’ve ever had. Even after making several at home, I haven’t been able to capture the magic. Slow Club sweetens theirs with maple syrup instead of honey, which is maybe what pulls it together so nicely.

It’s the perfect drink for resigning yourself to the fact that you’re not taking Sunday easy this week and you’re just going to have to tough it through Monday with a hangover. Try one this Sunday (they’re open, I checked), although that’s kind of cheating because you have two days off.

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Drink of the week: your own bottle of whiskey at Hog & Rocks

I’ve always been intrigued by bars and restaurants that get their own private barrel of whiskey. Four roses does these branded bottlings a lot: Nopa used to have one, I think Elixir still does, even Beltramo’s, the South Bay’s most famous liquor mart, had their own branded bottles of Four Roses. For me, though, it’s hard to form an opinion on a spirit with just one shot in the course of a dinner or a night out.

Enter Hog & Rocks, who is offering their private barrel of Elijah Craig 12 by the bottle. Here’s the deal: you pay up front for the bottle, they put your name on it, and they keep it behind the bar. Then, any time you want, you just walk in and have them pour you a shot. I’m especially looking forward to convincing friends to go with me without mentioning the program, and then just walking up to the bar and having them pull out my personal bottle like a boss.

They also allow you to add up to four names in case you don’t think you can go through an entire bottle yourself. But I live a few blocks away, so I’m not worried.

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Drink of the week: Christmas magnum from Anchor Brewing

Who here’s in the HOLIDAY SPIRIT??? The trees are going up, the Mission is almost entirely underwater, and the city’s youth are booking their plane tickets back to Michigan.

One local institution that knows what I’m talking about is Anchor Brewing, who has released their 37th? annual Christmas ale. Each year the recipe is different, but from the taste I had, the 2012 is a rich, nutmeggy brown ale that represents the season well. The thing that makes it irresistible, however, is the beautiful 1.5 liter bottle, pictured here with a bottle of gin just to make sure you realize how big it is.

Available wherever fine magnums of Christmas beer are sold.

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Drink of the Week: the Bottom of the Bay

Well, this had to happen sometime. If San Francisco’s going to have its own substitute for Jager, it’s only fair that we have our own kind of jagerbombs. Local chill bar Evelyn Lee is filling this market gap with the appropriately named Bottom of the Bay. A healthy shot of Fernet is briefly suspended above partial pint of Drake’s Imperial Stout before being plunged into the depths of the creamy, sudsy brew. The result is somewhere between amazing and not-half-bad, with the wintery spices in the Fernet mixing nicely with the chocolate in the beer. I don’t think I’ve ever had a jagerbomb, so I can’t make a direct comparison, but this definitely tastes several times better than the Irish Car variety. Plus it doesn’t curdle so no chugging is required.

Perfect for a rainy night this holiday season when everyone else has gone out of town, and you’re getting shitfaced by yourself because you’re an adult and you can do what you want.

Read on for the startling conclusion.

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Drink of the week: growlers at Bi-Rite

Are you looking for the great taste of the Bay Area’s best beers bottled right at the source, but without the hassle of driving all over town to brewpubs and breweries? (Yes.) Well don’t fret, because Bi-Rite is stocking growlers from two of our favorite local brewers, Magnolia and Linden St.

For those who are wondering, a growler is basically a big bottle with a little stopper on top, so you can pour in beer from the tap and keep it fresh for a few days until you get around to drinking it. They’re really handy when you make it out to far-flung breweries in Northern California, especially when they’re serving beers on tap that aren’t available in bottles.

At Bi-Rite, they’ve got Magnolia’s signature Blue Bell Bitter, as well as the light but hearty Kalifornia Kolsch. I opted for the Linden St. Burning Oak Black Lager, which was warm and chocolatey without being heavy, like a slightly sweeter and richer Death & Taxes. There’s a nominal deposit of $1.50, recoverable when you return the bottle. I’m hoping they’ll just roll that over for my next purchase.

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