San Francisco Cocktail Week: May 11-18

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Pendennis Cocktails, Heaven's Dog
Pendennis Cocktails, Heaven's Dog

San Francisco is becoming extremely well known for its cocktails. In December, the New York Times said this of San Francisco: "In the San Francisco Bay Area, a growing scene of local distillers and bartenders capable of wielding their elixirs to maximum effect has emerged."

I have a first-hand love of San Francisco's focus on cocktails, having been the unofficial leader of a band of friends who go from bar to bar tasting the best cocktail that the bar has to offer. We've been to 22 bars so far, and there is no end in sight for the excellent cocktails we can continue to have in San Francisco.

So when a town with such a vibrant cocktail scene announces an entire week dedicated to cocktails, I circle that week on my calendar in red. San Francisco Cocktail Week is presented by the Barbary Coast Conservancy of the American Cocktail, which is an organization who is preserving the art of the cocktail in San Francisco. Here is the official schedule, but below are some events that I am especially interested in attending:

US Bartenders' Guild National Competition
Tuesday, May 12, 5.00 pm at Harry Denton's Starlight Room
Admission: Free
This is the competition for the National Champion Title, and is sure to be fun to watch.


Farmers Market Cocktails with CUESA
Wednesday, May 13, 5.30 pm at the Ferry Building
Admission: $30.
This will be the third time that CUESA has hosted a cocktail event which features market ingredients. It's fun to see what bartenders do with the inspiration of the market. This event will focus on cane-based spirits. Admission cost includes two full cocktails and approximately a dozen tastes of other cocktails. Among the confirmed bartenders are some of my favorites in town: Scott Baird, Carlos Yturria, Dominic Venegas and Jackie Patterson. Buy tickets soon, this will probably sell out.

Day of Education
Thursday, May 14, various locations
Cost: $30-$40 per class
On Thursday, you can attend several classes on topics surrounding cocktails. I'm especially interested in the class about house-made ingredients, and the class about Barbary Coast Cocktails. Check out all the classes and buy tickets here.

Stomping through the Savoy
Sunday, May 17, Alembic, from 6pm on.
Cost: Free with a charge for cocktails
Friend and cocktail master Erik Ellestad will be behind the bar at the Alembic. Approximately once a month, Alembic allows customers to thumb through the Savoy Cocktail Book and choose any cocktail from the book to try. I haven't made it to this event in the past, but hope to do so on the 17th.

Listen to a Sparkletack podcast about the Cocktail Route of the 1890's.
Commentary on the SF Cocktail Scene on Alcademics.
Watch the official site for additions to the schedule.