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Friday, January 6, 2012

Prey of Thieves, a Cocktail Worth Stalking

Posted By on Fri, Jan 6, 2012 at 11:00 AM

Prey of Thieves cocktail, warming and smoky - LOU BUSTAMANTE
  • Lou Bustamante
  • Prey of Thieves cocktail, warming and smoky
With winter's chill just outside the door, the bar at AQ dressed in pale white marble and bare birch branches feels cozy and inviting, as if stumbling into a forest clearing with a full bar. Small puffs of herbal smoke drift upwards as the bartenders blowtorch bay leaves for the Mexican Piano ($10 Espolón Tequila, huckleberry syrup, lime, tarragon, bay leaf), adding to the atmosphere. While the construction of the refreshing drink may be responsible for fortifying the mood, it's the Prey of Thieves ($10, scotch, tawny port, chicory coffee tincture, orange twist) cocktail that feels most in tune with the season.

A Manhattan variation beefed up with scotch in place of the bourbon or rye whiskey, port instead of sweet vermouth, and the coffee tincture filling in for the bitters, this is a rich, restorative drink that almost demands a fireplace. The scotch and coffee add layers of smoke to the drink without being smoky, while the port adds a cherry-chocolate quality that made it hard to set down.

This talented team of bartenders (led by Timothy Zohn and including Ethan Terry and Brandon Josie), and the restaurant's shifting seasonal décor and menus, already have us yearning to drink spring.

AQ, 1085 Mission (at 7th St.), 341-9000

Lou Bustamante tweets at @thevillagedrunk. Follow SFoodie at @sfoodie, and like us on Facebook.
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