5 Variations on the Manhattan Cocktail in San Francisco
Beyond Manhattan: 5 Local Twists on the Classic Cocktail
San Francisco may not be the first city you associate with the Manhattan cocktail (I think that's pretty obvious), but when it comes to shaking up new twists on old classics, SF does it best. Not only does this city have a rich cocktail history, but I like to think we started the modern mixology trend now making its way around the country. The old-school Manhattan seems especially open to interpretation nowadays; here are five of my favorite variations.
- The Revolver at Bourbon and Branch (501 Jones St., 415-931-7292): At this renowned speakeasy, the classic gets coffee-liqueured up with Tia Maria in place of sweet vermouth; with a dash of orange bitters, it's remarkably well balanced and probably my favorite of the five.
- The Steve McQueen at Madrone (500 Divisadero St., 415-241-0202): From Revolver to Bullitt, the art bar's (below) fittingly smooth tribute to the king of cool uses Bulleit bourbon and Punt e Mes.
- The Critical Mass at The Burritt Room (417 Stockton St., 415-400-0500): Named for San Francisco's en masse bike ride, this cocktail has the kick of rye, smoothed over with sweet vermouth, Benedictine, and versatile Aperol. Better yet, the bartenders give you a "sidecar" of any overflow that doesn't fit in the glass.
- Uptown Manhattan (above) at Clock Bar (335 Powell St., 415-397-9222): Across from Michael Mina, this posh hotel bar has an overwhelming large cocktail menu but keeps its Manhattan mostly old school: Maker's Mark bourbon, Amaro Nonino, orange bitters, plus cherry brandy and brandied cherries. Order the soft pretzel to ensure you don't get too tipsy.
- The Wall St. at Rickhouse (246 Kearny St., 415-398-2827): Just added last week as part of the bar's seasonal menu, the Wall St. features a moneyed and Christmasy mix of bourbon, Punt e Mes, walnut liqueur, maraschino liqueur, and Winter bitters.