With the rain last week, the cold snap this one, and the holiday visitors streaming in, chances are, you're going to need some liquid cheer sooner or later. This week, I'm rounding up a few of the best drinks to enjoy this winter around town, whether you need a post-shopping nerve-soother, or to ward off the cold (or even a cold).
Drink: Rock & Rye
Where: Rye Bar, 688 Geary (at Leavenworth), 474-4448
Why: The beauty of this drink is that it's one that works both hot as a toddy or cold as a stirred Old Fashioned style drink. The base is rye whiskey infused with citrus and spices, sweetened by horehound candy (with alleged medicinal properties) developed by bar owners Greg Lindgren and Jon Gasparini, based on a classic American liqueur. Rock & Rye may no longer be prescribed by doctors for colds, but trust us, 100 years later, there's still no better cure.
Drink: Irish Coffee
Where: Buena Vista Café, 2765 Hyde (at Beach), 474-5044
Why: If you have family visiting, chances are you'll end up at Fisherman's Warf or riding a cable car, but turn those lemons into lemonade by shoehorning in a stop into the Buena Vista Café for one of their signature Irish Coffees. Warm with enough caffeine to get you to the next, it also has enough whiskey to keep you warm on the cable car trip back to Union Square.
Drink: Orchard Malt Mule
Where: Jasper's Corner Tap & Kitchen, 401 Taylor (at O'Farrell)
Why: This single malt whisky based drink at Jasper's conjures all the qualities of winter in one cold glass: apple cider, pear liqueur, ginger, and allspice dram get laced with peat smoke that make this a holiday indulgence worth seeking out. Like driving with the heater on and the windows open on a cold day, this cocktail provides enough of a brisk chill to cool off any overheating the holiday fever may bring on.
Drink: House Cappuccino
Where: Tosca Café, 242 Columbus (at Broadway), 391-1244
Why: The reason why this old North Beach hangout's cappuccino does not actually contain coffee may be a puzzle that suggests that the bar (which opened in 1919) was selling alcohol during prohibition (1920-1933). While there's no clear answer, what is certain is that the brandy-spiked hot chocolate, produced by the gleaming espresso machines puffing steam at each end of the bar, has lasted this long for a reason.