San Francisco's Not Ready to Give Up Its Historic Cocktails
Tasting Table's recent list of the 15 best cocktails in San Francisco by Camper English had us nodding our head in agreement, though by the end we couldn't help feeling a little muddled (and not just because we were drinking as we read).
At first we were a little skeptical about the inclusion of so many classic cocktails. The Negroni, Irish Coffee, Pisco Punch ― they're all great cocktails, and all 58 years or older. By comparison, Tasting Table New York's list is made up entirely of new and contemporary-classic cocktails.
Then we realized that the Camper English list is actually a more accurate snapshot of how we drink in San Francisco than we realized, and the contrast with New York's illustrates an opposite-coast difference in style. The Big Apple is moving on from its fascination with 19th-century cocktails and building on that foundation, while the Bay Area is still snuggled deep in history's warm, boozy embrace. S.F.'s three biggest bar openings of the year clearly illustrate that: Comstock Saloon, Bar Agricole, and the Burritt Room all lean on the classics (and do them amazingly well).
With so much ongoing dialogue between bartenders on both coasts, it'll be interesting to see where the trends converge ― and where they'll deviate ― on next year's lists.