A Liquid Preview of Jasper's Corner Tap
Jasper's Corner Tap, the gastropub project in the hotel section west of Union Square, opens tonight with an impressive list of beverages. The tavern will feature 18 cocktails, 18 beers and six wines on tap. We were able to get a quick preview of some of the cocktails and snacks from bar manager Kevin Diedrich and chef Adam Carpenter.
Lou Bustamante Kevin Diedrich, bar manager at Jasper's Corner Tap
We expected to enjoy the food and the drinks, but what impressed us the most was how well they were paired.
We expected a drink list full of beer cocktails, heavy on whiskey, but we mostly found lush yet delicate drinks. The Shibuya Shake ($12, Beefeater 24 Gin, St. Germain elderflower liqueur, lemon, grapefruit, house orange bitters, egg white, shiso, Squirt grapefruit soda) is green-hued, herbal, and lightly citrus enough to embellish a crock full of quickly fried padrón peppers ($5).
The chewy, Maldon seasalt-crusted warm pretzel ($4) enjoyed the company of the Cloudkicker ($11, Beefeater Gin, Cynar, Green Chartreuse, Campari) almost more than the accompanying smoked Gouda and cheddar fondue. As reluctant as we were to like the Soda Jerk ($12, Partida Blanco Tequila, Campari, lime, passionfruit, vanilla-infused agave syrup, egg white, cream soda), the charm of the passionfruit with a slight edge of orange bitterness from the Campari was just too enjoyable.
Lou Bustamante Left to right: Soda Jerk and Shibuya Shake
The cocktail list is primarily Diedrich's handiwork, but his talented bar staff also make some fantastic contributions. Brian MacGregor supplies the light and complex Empress Bianca ($10, Martini & Rossi Rosato vermouth, Yellow Chartreuse, lemon, grapefruit bitters), while Allison Webber's End of the Affair ($11, dry sherry, Hennessy Cognac, Rocky's Bitters, honey, champagne) is a better closer than Brian Wilson. Of the beer drinks, we were most impressed with Jacques Bezuidenhout's haunting Velvet 75 ($9, Guinness, gin, champagne), which drank more like a dark wine than a cocktail.
We didn't have a chance to try any of the 27 wines by the glass selected by sommelier Emily Wines. The list is diverse enough to make everybody happy, including us with the Sigalas Santorini Assyriko 2010, a Greek white we hope to enjoy next time. If you're unsure, you can create a flight of three wines for $20, or ask the staff to select three to pair with your meal.
Lou Bustamante The warm soft pretzel with smoked Gouda and cheddar fondue.
An impressive team is creating exciting and genuinely satisfying cocktails that should make Jasper's Corner Tap a local destination.
Jasper's Corner Tap, 401 Taylor (at O'Farrell), 775-7979