SF Cocktail Week, Weekend Edition: The Epic, the Gala, and the Grilled

Lou Bustamante
At last night's Ragtag Rabble, 15 Romolo bartender Brandon Josie.
​Last night's Ragtag Rabble delivered on all the wickedness our vices could handle, including gambling and a burlesque show. Great cocktails and costumes made the night complete!

SF Cocktail Week features three must-do events this weekend, starting with tonight's Epic Hour. Next: Saturday night's Carnival Gala at the Old Mint, followed by the Sunday afternoon barbecue at St. George Spirits across the bay in Alameda.

And we note the weekend's extra-credit pick: a reprise of Martin Cate's wonderfully entertaining presentation from this year's Tales of the Cocktail. The Smuggler's Cove owner weaves a comprehensive narrative of one of the most infamous and influential movements in tavern history, the 1970s fern bar.

Fri., Sept. 24:
Modern Distillation: Flavor Capture and Expression
When: 1:30-3:30 p.m.
Where: 15 Romolo, 15 Romolo Alley (at Broadway)
How much: Free
The skinny: Jaime Evans will be on hand to discuss the unique production processes used to make Oxley gin. Includes a "Tasting Challenge"

Second Annual Epic Happy Hour
When: 5-8 p.m.
Where: Epic Roasthouse, 369 the Embarcadero (at Folsom),
How much: $45
The skinny: Enjoy the sunshine, hearty hors d'oeuvres ― last year's featured deliciously meaty fare, no surprise ― and cocktails from an all-star cast. DJ B Love, the waterfront location, and gorgeous weather should add up to the perfect start to the weekend.

Sat., Sept. 25:
Tours of Distillery No. 209
When: 1 p.m. and 2 p.m.
Where: Distillery No. 209, 50 Pier 48, #B
How much: Free, RSVP required (e-mail wendi@distillery209.com)
The skinny: Get a rare peek of San Francisco gin producer Distillery No. 209, and insight into its production methods.

Martin Cate's History of the Fern Bar
When: 1-3 p.m.
Where: Elixir, 3200 16th St. (at Guerrero)
How much: $25
The skinny: Known for its own distinct culture, atmosphere, and cocktails, the fern bar is credited as the birthplace of the Lemon Drop and was home to the Harvey Wallbanger, wine spritzer, Tequila Sunrise, and lots of drinks containing ice cream ― prepare to experience cocktails that challenge your concept of "good." Polyester attire strongly encouraged.

Everything's Going South
When: 2-4 p.m.
Where: 15 Romolo, 15 Romolo Alley (at Broadway)
How much: $25
The skinny: A conversation between Gerry Schweitzer of Leblon cachaça and Duggan McDonnell of Encanto pisco on the emerging trend of South American spirits and cocktails in the U. S. Includes a cocktail and tastings of both spirits.

The Return of Absinthe ― the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
When: 2:30-4:30 p.m.
Where: Comstock Saloon, 155 Columbus (at Kearney)
How much: $20
The skinny: Hang out with Ted Breaux of Lucid, Peter Schaf of Vieux Pontarlier, and Lance Winters of locally distilled St. George, for a presentation on absinthe's history, production, and misconceptions. Tastings of absinthe, cocktails, and light snacks provided.

Cocktail Crawl: Drinking with Dominic
When: 11:30 a.m.-5 p.m.
Where: All over S.F.; consult the schedule
How much: Free admission; no-host bar
The skinny: An extensive walking, drinking, and history tour of San Francisco's most historic and notorious bars with bar-star Dominic Venegas. If nothing else, test your mettle and see how long you can keep up!

Cocktail Carnival Gala
When: 9 p.m.-2 a.m.
Where: San Francisco's Old Mint, corner of Fifth St. and Mission
How much: $95
The skinny: The biggest production of Cocktail Week. The Brass Mafia provides a soundtrack for cocktails from Smuggler's Cove, Elixir, Cantina, 15 Romolo, and the Alembic.

Sun., Sept. 26:
Cocktail Cookout on the Island
When: 2- 6 p.m.
Where: St. George Spirits Distillery, 2601 Monarch (on the former Alameda Naval Base), Alameda
How much: $50
The skinny: You were planning on having a barbecue this weekend anyway to enjoy the transition to local summer, so why not add a boozy ferry ride, Fatted Calf meats, and cocktails galore from the East Bay's best bartenders?

I-talian I-ranian American Spaghetti Feed
When: 8-10 p.m.
Where: Long Bar, 2298 Fillmore (at Clay)
How much: $22.98 (includes glass of wine and tax, gratuity excluded); e-mail info@longbarsf.com for reservations
The skinny: A culture clash of epic Sunday-dinner proportions with chefs Erik Hopfinger of Long Bar and Hoss Zaré of Zaré at Fly Trap joining forces with Long Bar owner/bartender Reza Esmaili.

Full disclosure: The author is a former employee of St. George Spirits.
Lou Bustamante tweets at @thevillagedrunk. Follow SFoodie at @sfoodie.

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15 Romolo

15 Romolo Place, San Francisco, CA

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