Drink of the Week: Bone Machine at Third Rail

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Lou Bustamante
The icy stare of a Bone Machine Cocktail
Some bartenders hate doing it, others relish it. Like it or not, naming a cocktail has an impact. Some names are certainly more utilitarian and descriptive of their ingredients than others, but those that aren't help create expectations, define a mood, and craft a story of a drink's character and past.

When I saw the Bone Machine ($10, bourbon, oloroso sherry, amaro, bitters) on the menu at Third Rail under the Spiritous section, I imagined it was named after a ruthless mixed-martial artist. An extremely slow and packed ride on the T line -- one in which a drunk young professional was threatening to topple over and crush us for the entire 30 minutes -- necessitated something with intensity in the place of mercy. This drink was the perfect remedy, more grappler than brute; the bourbon's strength, the sherry's blatant audacity, and the amaro's citrus wallop landed a deliciously dark strike directly on my mouth.

See Also:- Drink of the Week: Catching the Paris to Milan at Range
- Jerky & Cocktails: Third Rail Opens in Dogpatch Tomorrow
- Drink of the Week: Sacramento Cocktails

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Drink of the Week: Sacramento Cocktails

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Lou Bustamante
Aged Martinez cocktail at Hook & Ladder
Chances are you've driven your carload of friends by or through Sacramento at some point, possible en route to Tahoe. And chances are also good that if you made a stop to eat on that long drive, you probably hit one of the many strip-mall fast-food joints right off the freeway.

While your mental image of Sacramento might be only of the state's political engine, quite a treasure trove of eats and drinks can be found there, in a big city that acts like a small town. Here's my guide and great excuses to plan a stop.

See Also:- Drink of the Week: Hitting a Triple Header at Trappist
- Drink of the Week: Ahumado at CHAYA Brasserie
- Drink of the Week: Mixing from Scratch at Plum Bar

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Drink of the Week: Hitting a Triple Header at Trappist

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Lou Bustamante
I've only been to Belgium once. I went to Brussels and Bruges for a few days many years ago after working my way through Scandinavia. While the memories of being there have mostly faded to a blur of landscapes, the clearest remnant is of an afternoon spent sitting in an airy, sunny plaza with a tulip glass (or two) of Duvel.

Sitting at the bar at the Trappist, a Belgian-beer-focused pub in downtown Oakland, those fond recollections resurface and etch themselves deeper with each sip of the St. Feuillien Triple ($8.75). Silky, dry, and light without feeling watery, the citrus and fennel flavors from the beer conceal the high octane (8.5% abv), but also make it remarkably food-friendly.

See Also:- Get Funky at The Trappist's Spontanfest on Saturday
- Drink of the Week: Ahumado at CHAYA Brasserie
- Drink of the Week: Mixing from Scratch at Plum Bar

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Drink of the Week: Ahumado at CHAYA Brasserie

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Lou Bustamante
It's funny how often the things that are the closest to us are the ones we ignore or forget about, while more challenging pursuits are the ones actively chased. I have friends who live in other countries that I see more often than the ones who live an hour away from my house. And there are those places in the city we forget about, those spots that somehow blend into the background, sacrificed out of efficiency of routine.

While walking down the other side of Embarcadero I normally do, I ended up popping into CHAYA Brasserie. With a striking view of the Bay Bridge, a classically ornate wooden bar, and a Franco-Japanese focus, I didn't quite know what to expect.

See also:-Drink of the Week: Mixing from Scratch at Plum Bar
Drink of the Week: Double Feature at Foreign Cinema
Drink of the Week: Drinking an "Apple" a Day at Mosto

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Drink of the Week: Mixing from Scratch at Plum Bar

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Lou Bustamante
Corn & Oil cocktail
When scanning a restaurant's cocktail menu, one of the things I try and gauge is how much dialogue is evident between the kitchen and the bar in the drinks. Are there overlaps in flavors or techniques? Is there something there that provides a signature beyond the choices in spirits that grounds it to a common ideal with the cuisine? It may not guarantee a great cocktail, but it usually indicates that at the very least, something interesting will come out.

At Plum Bar, rather than create that bridge with specific ingredients or liquor, Ron Boyd, the Director of Operations for the whole Daniel Patterson Group, is doing something radical: keeping the cocktail menu mostly classics or variations on classics and building the complexity with an extensive cordial and bitters backbar made entirely in house.

See also: Drink of the Week: Double Feature at Foreign Cinema
Drink of the Week: Drinking an "Apple" a Day at Mosto
Drink of the Week: In Love with a Gold Digger at Loló

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Drink of the Week: Double Feature at Foreign Cinema

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Lou Bustamante
The Black Lodge
There are some places I regrettably take for granted, that is until I am given a gentle reminder. When news hit that the bar at Foreign Cinema was getting a remodel, new bar manager Kevin Dowell (formerly of Rio Grande), and revamped cocktail menu, I had to check it out.

The concise list of nine drinks gets divided into three categories: Originals, Classics, and Friends. Not surprisingly, the Originals list is where some of the interesting drinks land, like the outstanding -- and totally different -- Lady Grinning Soul ($11, Reyka Vodka, grapefruit cordial, lemon, cucumber, Manzanilla sherry) and dusky The Black Lodge ($11, James E. Pepper Rye, saffron amaro, apricot liqueur, orange oil).

See also: Drink of the Week: Drinking an "Apple" a Day at Mosto
Drink of the Week: In Love with a Gold Digger at Loló
Strong Contenders for San Francisco's Best Bacon

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Drink of the Week: Drinking an "Apple" a Day at Mosto

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Lou Bustamante
Taking your first sip of the drink "I Thought It Was Apple" ($12, Espolon Reposado Tequila, Becherovka, orgeat, lime) at Mosto, you'll swear you're drinking lightly spiced and spiked apple juice. The cocktail is deceptively easy to sip, but what makes the drink good is that even after the trick's novelty wears off, it is superbly delicious. In structure it is somewhat like the original mai tai, but tuned to a complete different part of the world: Mexico by way of the Czech Republic.

See also:- La Paloma at Mosto is Must-o
- Drink of the Week: In Love with a Gold Digger at Loló
- Best Bar Snack San Francisco 2012 - Mosto


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Drink of the Week: In Love with a Gold Digger at Loló

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Lou Bustamante
Yeah she's a trifling friend indeed--that digs on me
Walking into Loló, three thoughts will cross your mind: The first and most immediate will be how improbable and fun the décor by Lorena Zertuche is. In the wrong hands, the vibrant colors and array of objects, photos, and suit jackets that adorn the space would feel haphazard and over the top, but here they radiate creativity, warmth and charm that permeates most of the experience.

Then after getting a drink from the bar like the Gold Digger ($11, mezcal, yellow chartreuse, tonic syrup, bitters), a cocktail that drinks like the Negroni's lighter and brighter Mexican cousin, your second thought will be wonder. You'll ask yourself, "Why, in a town full of talented bartenders and knowledgeable patrons, has no one ever heard much about the restaurant's barmen David Gallardo and Leon Vasquez before?"

See also: Drink of the Week: Getting Caught in a Devil's Lie at Rich Table
Drink of the Week: The Declaration at Starbelly
Tourtilla: A Quest for the Best Handmade Tortilla in San Francisco

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Drink of the Week: Getting Caught in a Devil's Lie at Rich Table

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Lou Bustamante
Devil's Lie cocktail
Few restaurant bars inspire the kind of envy in me that Rich Table does. In its heart, it is a neighborhood restaurant, albeit one that has rightfully attracted local and national attention. It is the kind of place I wish was in my neighborhood.

The composition and presentation of the dishes suits fine dining, but the bar and range of $7 bites perfectly lends itself as a neighborhood spot. If I lived in the area, you'd find me here often with an order of dried porcini doughnuts ($7) and the fantastic Devil's Lie ($11, tequila blanco, fino sherry, apple reduction, lemon, Scrappy's Firewater Bitters) cocktail.

See also: Rich Table: Refined Comfort with California Bistro Food
Best New Restaurant San Francisco 2013 - Rich Table
Drink of the Week: Sipping the Lands End at Rich Table

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Drink of the Week: The Declaration at Starbelly

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Lou Bustamante
The Declaration cocktail
The stigma associated with low-alcohol cocktails may be coming to an end thanks to bars that are creating the drinks out of choice, not necessity. Places like Brass Tacks, Bergerac, and Range devote subsections of their menus to the low-proof drinks that taste, well, like real cocktails. Even books entirely on the subject are making their way to bar shelves, like The Art of the Shim: Low-Alcohol Cocktails to Keep You Level by San Francisco-based author Dinah Sanders.

At Starbelly (which doesn't have a full liquor license), mixing low alcohol cocktails is something they've been doing for a long time and doing it very well. There are no soju "margaritas" or "cosmopolitans" on the menu, but you will find legitimately tasty drinks like The Declaration ($9, Madeira, port, Bonal, rosemary). The drink is has both plenty of heft and flavor.

See also: Drink of the Week: Pig 'N Boots at Parallel 37
Drink of the Week: Drinking Inside the Twelve-Mile Limit at Revamped Comstock Saloon
Drink of the Week: Engaging in Some Risky Business at Fog City

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