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Friday, April 26, 2013

Drink of the Week: Hunting with the Woodsman at Bloodhound

Posted By on Fri, Apr 26, 2013 at 11:30 AM

The Woodsman at Bloodhound is a take on the Old Fashioned. - LOU BUSTAMANTE
  • Lou Bustamante
  • The Woodsman at Bloodhound is a take on the Old Fashioned.

When Bloodhound opened in 2008 (making it 36 in dog years), that stretch of Folsom was a rather lonely one with a few outlier clubs and leather shops. The bar's success and longevity is certainly due in part to the bartending skills that owner Dylan O'Brien honed over the years, but also because it has effectively juggled the role of being both destination and neighborhood bar. As the area saw an increase of housing and office development, Bloodhound took the opportunity to offer more, like being an early supporter of the food truck movement with the Chairman and Casey's Pizza food trucks regularly setting up in front of the bar.

Since then, O'Brien has gone on to open up Prizefighter in the craft cocktail-emergent East Bay with Jon Santer. With all those changes, including a new menu (see the full menu below), I was curious if the dog could still hunt.

See also: At Prizefighter, Oaxacan Standoffs Always End Deliciously

Food Truck Bite of the Week: Plenty of Bling Without the Grillz at Casey's

Drink of the Week: The Honey Badger at Bluestem Doesn't Care If You Like It

The Flor De Jalisco at Bloodhound. - LOU BUSTAMANTE
  • Lou Bustamante
  • The Flor De Jalisco at Bloodhound.

The brisk walk down 7th Street from Market (dodging and weaving), I decided to start off with something tart and thirst-quenching from the new menu. The Flor De Jalisco ($9, Chinaco Blanco Tequila, lemon, pineapple syrup, sloe gin, soda, bitters) by Alicia Walton (who also tends bar at Comstock Saloon) was exactly what I needed; not fruity or sweet, but with enough of each flavor to compliment the tequila.

The hunting-shed chic space appropriately features a new section of the cocktail menu entirely devoted to variations on the Old Fashioned, like the wonderfully rich and layered The Woodsman ($9, Rittenhouse 100-proof Rye, honey, allspice dram, Fernet Branca, lemon peel). The drink reads like a one of those terrifying shots the inexperienced consider fun, but the flavors lock in together into one of those greater-than-the-sum-of-its-parts elixirs. The fernet adds depth rather than clobbering everything, the honey adds a light earthy sweetness, and the rye ties it in all together. Mounted like a hunting trophy in the glass is a fat single cube of ice, enhancing the drink with cold, but slow dilution and elegance.

Owner Dylan O'Brien mixes a drink at Bloodhound. - LOU BUSTAMANTE
  • Lou Bustamante
  • Owner Dylan O'Brien mixes a drink at Bloodhound.

So has the opening of Prizefighter influenced Bloodhound? While you can tell they're related, they are far from the same. O'Brien explained that he considers Prizefighter to be the sophisticated younger of Bloodhound, and that both bars endeavor to be comfortable and unpretentious. "At its core, Bloodhound is a whiskey bar with a strong beer program where you can get a great cocktail if you like," he says. "Prizefighter is a cocktail bar with you a strong spirits selection where you can have an awesome beer if you like."

No matter what drink you bag, you won't get any decoys at Bloodhound.

The Woodsman

By Steve Post

2 oz. Rittenhouse 100-proof Rye Whiskey

¼ oz. Fernet

1/8 oz. Honey Syrup

1/8 oz. Allspice Dram

Add all ingredients to a rocks glass over a very large ice cube. Stir briefly and garnish with a lemon peel.

The new menu:


Telegraph Hill ($10)

bourbon, Melleti Amaro, french vermouth, orange peel

-- inspired by the Cobble Hill Cocktail - Sam Ross, Milk & Honey, NYC

Cuffs & Buttons ($9)

rye whiskey, peach brandy, italian vermouth, bitters, orange peel

Reconquista ($10)

mezcal, Aperol, Punt é Mes

Tuxedo ($9)

gin, fino sherry, maraschino liqueur, orange bitters, absinthe

-- adapted from A.S. Crockett, Old Waldorf Astoria Bar Book, 1935


Delmarva Cocktail ($10)

bourbon, lemon, dry vermouth, creme de menthe

-- Ted Haigh, "Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails"

Recoil ($10)

bourbon, ginger beer, lime, elderflower liqueur

Daiquiri La Peche ($9)

rum, lime, peach brandy, gomme syrup cinammon bitters

Bloodhound ($9)

vodka (or gin or tequila), campari, grapefruit

Flor De Jalisco ($9)

blanco tequila, lemon, pineapple syrup, sloe gin, soda, bitters

Michelada ($7)

tequila/mezcal, sangrita, cerveza


The Classic ($8)

bonded rye whiskey, aromatic bitters, gomme syrup, lemon peel

Old Dutch ($9)

genever, gomme syrup, aromatic bitters, peach bitters, lemon peel

The Woodsman ($9)

bonded rye whiskey, honey, allspice dram, fernet, lemon peel

New Fashioned ($9)

single barrel bourbon, aromatic bitters, maple syrup, orange peel

Bloodhound, 1145 Folsom (at 7th), 863-2840

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