I can feel my organs finally healing and purging themselves after a weeklong series of events designed to highlight Bay Area bartenders, spirits companies, and the grand traditions of the bar. It was a week that required both unwavering energy and careful pacing of a marathon runner. After a long seven days of little sleep, heavy drinking, and poor diet, here's a recap of the week, with my highlights:
Spirited Food Trucks
The combination of cocktail and food trucks was an obvious winner (you had doubts?) at SOMA StrEat Food Park, especially because of the whirling Can Van machine that was sealing up 12 oz. aluminum cans full of freshly made cocktails, while a SakeOne and rum drink was filling up coconuts. The selection of food truck vendors included one of my favorites, Old World Food Truck, along with new discoveries like Little Green Cyclo, Adam's Grub Truck, and Voodoo Van. It was relaxed, fun, and the perfect weather made for a great event.
Best of the West
Meeting and trying drinks from bartenders across the West was a hoot and Tradition Bar, though not spacious, had plenty of bar space to keep things moving along. I was glad that I got there early and nabbed a seat, especially after trying the sixth cocktail. Thankfully there was a truck selling sliders and baskets of hot, crispy tater tots out front.
Spirited Supper at Millennium
This meal was a total and wonderful surprise as a first time diner at the vegan Millennium Restaurant. Five courses paired with five cocktails emerged and this was the night I decided to try out the Bytox hangover patch I'd been hanging on to the whole week. The dinner was a parade of beautiful and flavorful food that stood out for its bold and playful combinations and not the lack of meat or dairy. The cocktails using organic liqueurs from the Art in the Age group were well paired, with a Snap (ginger and molasses liqueur) a stand out. The next day I felt groggy, but in fairness it was hard to tease out my exhaustion from any effects of the hangover, though I was headache-free. Worth using? Maybe. Sometimes, anything helps.
St. George Spirits Gets Bartenders Behind Bars
A sunny day, dozen different drinks, and a view of San Francisco was made only better with a quick stop at Eat Real Fest beforehand for some lamb poutine. The prison theme at this event was played well without getting played out, with the clever use of plastic handcuffs as wristbands and all the bartending stations set up like security kiosks with bars between you and the drinks. All the cocktails were based on the distillery's Breaking & Entering brand, but the range being poured was impressive, from a smoky mezcal enhanced stiff cocktail, to sours, and fancy ones with foams and bubbles. No doubt this is how Capone chilled.