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Friday, November 22, 2013

Drink of the Week: The Phoenix Rising from the Ashes at Hi Lo BBQ

Posted By on Fri, Nov 22, 2013 at 11:40 AM

  • Lou Bustamante

Of all the cocktails I've tried, I don't think I've come across with one that comes charged with the emotional impact built in to The Phoenix ($10, mezcal, sake, smoked strawberry, citrus bitters).

The drink was developed by bar manager Saul Ranella from provisions that survived the fire at sibling restaurant Maverick to help raise funds for the Friends of Maverick Foundation. The sale of each drink benefits the foundation set up to help out the families displaced by the fire.

See Also: Hi-Lo BBQ: San Francisco Gets Its Own Barbecue

Drink of the Week: The Color of Money at Honor Bar

Drink of the Week: The Elder Statesman at Presidio Social Club

Smoked mortadella sliders - LOU BUSTAMANTE
  • Lou Bustamante
  • Smoked mortadella sliders

After the fire, all of the beer, wine, and produce that escaped the destruction was brought over to Hi Lo BBQ where Ranella and chef Robin Song got to work smoking strawberries and giving those rescued items new life--in cocktail form. A variation on the caipirinha, that Brazilian answer to the mojito, it is refreshingly tart, with hints of smoke that make it interesting without feeling like you smoked a pack of hickory cigarettes.

The Phoenix also happens to be the perfect companion to the sliders ($2 each during happy hour, 5-7 p.m.; $10 for three regularly). Fat little patties of grilled housemade mortadella get tucked into one of their fresh baked rolls with cheese.

Linden Street Crush cocktail - LOU BUSTAMANTE
  • Lou Bustamante
  • Linden Street Crush cocktail

The bar at Hi Lo has also received an overall overhaul -- a bar has been placed by the entrance of the restaurant and changes have been made to the original cocktail menu. Much like in the kitchen, Ranella shifts the menu to reflect the seasons while keeping the drinks on the refreshing and lighter side to pair with chef Song's food.

The Linden Street Crush ($10, rye, spiced vanilla and orange syrup, lime, orange flower water, Linden Street Brick Bitter Beer) is a great example of this shift: fragrant, layered, with a lightness and the citrus complexity of Linden Street's beer keeping it from tasting like a booze bomb.

The Phoenix

1 ¼ oz. Smoked strawberry syrup*

4 Lime wedges

1 ½ oz. Sake

½ oz. Mezcal

2 dash Angostura bitters

Lightly muddle lime wedges with strawberry syrup in a mixing glass until fragrant with citrus scent. Add ice, sake, mezcal, and bitters and shake. Pour everything into double old-fashioned glass.

*Smoked strawberry syrup

Toss stemmed strawberries in a little sugar (to help absorb smoke) and place on a sheet pan in a single layer. Smoke berries overnight.

Combine equal parts simple syrup (1:1 sugar and water) and smoked strawberries in a blender and blend on low speed with short, quick pulses. Strain before using.

Hi Lo BBQ, 3416 19th (at Mission), 874-9211

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