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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Cabanas and Cocktails: New Drinks at Twilight at the Presidio

Posted By on Wed, Sep 10, 2014 at 2:25 PM

Presidio Buck cocktail - LOU BUSTAMANTE
  • Lou Bustamante
  • Presidio Buck cocktail

One of the best reasons to live in San Francisco is the expanse of park and outdoor spaces available. Routine and workloads can make us forget to enjoy the dozens of neighborhood parks. Certainly the weather here makes it hard to plan a nice day out, but as Twilight at the Presidio (from Off the Grid folks) shows, even on cold days, it’s still a lot of fun.

I swung by Twilight last week to check out the new cocktail menu from Quality Beverage, the bar at the event. While Twilight took the month of July off, the bar revamped the menu with new drinks, including a hot cocktail. While the drinks stick mostly with the classics, they cover a satisfying range of flavors and spirits to give most everyone something to enjoy.

The Presidio Buck ($10, Bulleit Bourbon, strawberries, simple syrup, lemon, bitters, ginger beer) is fresh and light enough to go with some of the spicier fare. The Aviator ($10, gin, maraschino liquor, lemon, crème de violet, simple syrup) is essentially a well-made Aviation, and the Fresh Squeezed Greyhound ($10, Ketel One Vodka, hand squeezed grapefruit juice) provides a great juicy vodka drink option.

Trio of drinks (L-R): The Aviator, Old Fashioned, Fresh Squeezed Greyhound - LOU BUSTAMANTE
  • Lou Bustamante
  • Trio of drinks (L-R): The Aviator, Old Fashioned, Fresh Squeezed Greyhound

My preferences always leans towards whiskey, so perhaps it’s no surprise that the Old Fashioned ($10, Bulleit Bourbon, muddled sugar and Angostura Bitters) served with orange and cherry garnish, was my favorite of the night. A stiff whiskey cocktail on a cool night sitting near a firepit in an old military post felt as appropriate as it was delicious.

click to enlarge A chill proof Warm Spiked Apple Cider - LOU BUSTAMANTE
  • Lou Bustamante
  • A chill proof Warm Spiked Apple Cider
If you plan on coming here, bring layers and be ready for most any kind of weather, and sometimes, all of it: like any part of San Francisco this close to the bay, you might get the full spectrum, from warm sun to cool, foggy night. But don’t worry, the Off the Grid folks have prepared for this. The parade grounds sprout with cocoon-like cabanas that can look like mushrooms, but most importantly provide the most protection from the whole range of elements. There are also propane-fueled fire pits for those who don’t manage to get a cabana*.

If you don’t manage to snag one and the evening gets cold, grab a seat near a fire and a Warm Spiked Apple Cider ($8, dark rum, homemade spiced apple cider). A few sips in, you’ll discover that the Presidio is just as beautiful in the fog as it is in the sun.

*Hot tip: While I can never seem to get there early enough to score a cabana, a good thing to note is that most people get there early and often leave early. Get there towards the end of the event for a better chance to score one.
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