Hayes Valley favorite, Absinthe (credit: Laurie Jo Miller Farr)
If you follow the summer chill that @KarltheFog likes to pump through the Golden Gate, you know that in this corner of the world, autumn is absolutely fine for sipping summer’s frozen drinks. Let’s see how some of our best mixologists interpret “fall” when it comes to their latest seasonal cocktail menus served at downtown’s newest bars in landmark spaces and at some of the city’s classic favorites.
398 Hayes St.
San Francisco, CA 94102
Bar Manager Jared Schmidt is recommending “Fall Fun.” Quite simply put, “It’s a play off a cocktail we did last year called ‘Summer Fling.’ The plum, fennel and star anise flavors from the absinthe go very well together. It’s seasonal and tasty. I’ll drink one,” offers Schmidt by way of explanation and endorsement.
490 Geary St.
San Francisco, CA 94102
Are you feeling continental today? Leave your passport at home but indulge in your passion for the Old World at this destination bar adjacent to the totally renovated Warwick Hotel, a 101-year-old beauty. There’s an accent on Euro style enhanced by Adam Wilson’s penchant for travel and sophisticated hotel bars, which he deftly anchors in classic European drinking traditions. “We’re creating beautiful cocktails that sound familiar but are totally new at the same time,” says Wilson. For fall, order this new bar’s namesake cocktail, “The European.” Made with Campari, grapefruit, lemon, seltzer and gum, it strikes a perfect balance of bitter and sweet, approachable yet with complexity.
101 California St.
San Francisco, CA 94111
You simply don’t stumble across a fall cocktail named “Tree” every day. Chef Michael Mina has planted new roots in this historic financial district tower. One part izakaya, one part sushi bar and one part craft cocktail bar is where the group’s Head Bartender Carlo Splendorini has created an innovative list of Japanese-inspired cocktails brimming with West Coast style. Cheers to autumn with creative use of Espolón Blanco tequila, green chartreuse, avocado-wasabi cordial, fresh lime juice and shiso sugar. It’s vibrant, unabashedly green, presented with aplomb and a dash of ceremony to welcome the change of seasons.
1725 Haight St.
San Francisco, CA 94117
Creative genius shines through even in the name of Ethan Terry’s fall concoction, “Autumn Motive.” The way Bar Manager Terry tells it, “I tend to jump at fall flavors almost by default. It’s a lovely cocktail for early autumn because there are so many holiday-specific spice flavors, which, in a city that doesn’t get definitive seasons, are super nostalgic.” This one’s guaranteed to start you up much better than your car’s engine.
2124 Market St.
San Francisco, CA 94114
Get a grip on this fabulous fall recipe, the “Carbonated New Orleans Coffee” by Matt Grippo. Or, better yet, come in and let them fix it for you. Forget Rice-a-Roni; this is San Francisco’s best treat. Sip yours after an al fresco dinner on a warm autumn evening. The drink includes bourbon, double-strength brewed coffee and a few other dashes of this and that to bring it all together.