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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Pizza-Cocktail Synergy Continues with Zero Zero's Joel Teitelbaum

Posted By on Thu, Jan 27, 2011 at 1:41 PM

click to enlarge Zero Zero bar manager Joel Teitelbaum: Cocktails, pizza ― sort of the same thing. - LOU BUSTAMANTE
  • Lou Bustamante
  • Zero Zero bar manager Joel Teitelbaum: Cocktails, pizza ― sort of the same thing.

It never ceases to fascinate us that pizzerias have become some of the best places to get a cocktail in the Bay Area. Before Beretta ignited the artisanal cocktail and pizza craze back in 2008, who would have guessed? Since then, a steady stream of newcomers ― including Boot and Shoe Service, Delarosa, and Zero Zero ― have helped maintain high standards for both drinks and pies pioneered at Beretta.

Case in point: On recent visit to the bar at Zero Zero for some pizza and drinks, it was clear that bar manager Joel Teitelbaum has been refining the cocktail menu. Teitelbaum got his start in the restaurant business at age 15, making pizzas in Ojai, Calif. He thinks making cocktails is a lot like making pizza, using ingredients to complement one another, creating a complex alchemies rather than striking single notes of sweet, sour, or bitter "I love drinks where you taste all the ingredients individually as well as the flavor they make together," Teitelbaum says.

Zero Zero's cocktail list is in three sections: Punch, Exhumed Cocktails, and House. Now, making punch a feature at a restaurant where most of the food is meant for sharing is a smart idea, but the House section is where Teitelbaum really shines.

His Negroni Bianco is a playful riff on the classic, but don't discount it as some Crystal Pepsi version of the original. Teitelbaum blends bianco (white) vermouth with gin and a house infusion of ginseng and Cocchi, a classic Italian aperitif wine flavored with herbs and spices. (Don't worry, a proper Negroni is on Zero Zero's list too, in the Exhumed section.) The Vida Vida (mescal, tequila, Green Chartreuse, agave syrup, and lime juice) was the cocktail we couldn't stop drinking, simultaneously complex and way too easy to drink.

Zero Zero: 826 Folsom (at Fourth St.), 348-8800.

Other bartenders to watch:

- Orson's Ian Adams

Lou Bustamante tweets at @thevillagedrunk. Follow SFoodie at @sfoodie.

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