Like everything else, cocktails travel in cycles. Drinks that were once standards at your grandparents' and great-grandparents' house became the darlings of the craft cocktail revival, while the drinks your parents enjoyed, became the pariahs. But in recent years, drinks from the '70s and '80s have finally started getting a well-deserved makeover.
Claire Sprouse at The Square (in the old Washington Square Bar & Grill space), was inspired by Rom Fimrite's The Square: The Story of a Saloon to create a menu that issues a pardon and gives new life to those maligned cocktails. "The book outlines the drinking culture in our restaurant space throughout the '70s and '80s, and served as inspiration for our cocktail list," says Sprouse.
Drinks like the tall, refreshing, and tart take on the Tequila Sunrise ($10, tequila, crème de cassis, Campari, lemon) show the impact that small improvements can make to a recipe. Sprouse says that she redesigned the drink to be a little more whimsical, but still approachable. "[The Tequila Sunrise] is an easily recognizable cocktail, but updated with fresh, quality ingredients that anyone from our longtime North Beach neighbors, visiting tourists, S.F. foodies, and art school kids can appreciate," explains Sprouse. "Oh, and it's fun. Cocktails should always be fun!"
Her version was inspired by the recipe used at the Trident in Sausalito during the heyday (where the drink was purported to have been invented), different from the more common version where grenadine takes the place of the cassis. As a bonus, Sprouse says, "the Rolling Stones even went on record as having their first Tequila Sunrise there, and I'll take their albeit hazy version of history over most, any day."
The menu revisits new-old classics like the Appletini, White Russian, and a delicious twist on the Harvey Wallbanger, the Freddy Fudpucker ($12, mezcal, Italian bitters, vanilla, orange, lemon). The mezcal and vanilla make for a carefree drink, and like the Tequila Sunrise, worthy of enjoying with rock stars or simply with less famous friends.