The “San Francisco” cocktail

This article was one I was kicking around for some time as it formed a perfect, San Francisco-Barcelona bridge albeit a cocktail-centric one. I ended up running it at my friend’s cocktail blog in Spanish, but below, you can find the unadulterated version in English about the search for the ever-elusive “San Francisco” cocktail.

It wasn’t a dark and stormy night, it was 4AM and I was in the Raval of Barcelona. The night had been long and alcohol-fueled. What had started with a bottle of wine shared between a friend and his lady crumbled away into hours of Manhattans, Boulevardiers, Sazeracs and other excuses to drink whiskey–as if one really needed an excuse to drink the only alcohol that America does truly right.

From Eixample to Gòtic, back to Eixample for some reason, then up to Gràcia, and then down to Raval, we were trying to cover every decent cocktail joint in the city. Frankly, it’s amazing it had taken six hours. As we stumbled around, looking for Boadas but not realizing that we were on Joaquim Costa street, I saw it. I had to shove several stag parties out of the way, but there it was, the “San Francisco” cocktail. The ingredients: orange, pineapple, and peach juice with a hit of grenadine. What in the fuck was that?

I’m not from San Francisco but I lived there long enough to say that I am and we San Franciscans like our booze–love it even. This was some watered-down, fruity beach drink that made a mockery of all the alcoholism that San Francisco stood for. Peach juice… A cocktail called the “San Francisco” should be a drink you worry about kicking you in the groin when you’re not looking. The “San Francisco” cocktail would run off with your girlfriend and then send you naked pictures of them getting’ it on. It’s not something to sip with pancakes for Sunday brunch. However good that admittedly sounds, it’s as amateur as saying, “Frisco”.

I once knew of a “San Francisco” but it wasn’t a classic like the “Manhattan”, that’s just not how San Francisco is. Classics are for assholes and Los Angeles. It was a cocktail with sweet and dry Vermouth, Gin, and regular and orange bitters that were shaken. That still doesn’t make a man out of you, but it gets a hell of a lot closer than the iced pissy fruit basket they invented in Barcelona in the 1960s so the locals could hook up with Swedes.

Why was this fruit basket called the “San Francisco”? Probably because it seemed so far off and exotic. Let me tell you, it may be far off, but there’s nothing exotic about San Francisco, especially with all the kids from Ohio running around making internet things these days.

If you want what’s a real “San Francisco”, you need something harder that shows the dirty, messed up melting pot that that city is. Something that says, I just saw a homeless guy take a shit between two cars and it didn’t surprise me.

So, Gin, two shots of it. Then toss in a bar spoon of sugar, juice from half a lime, and a small chili pepper–choose whatever you can handle. Shake it and serve it with a pickled garlic clove at the bottom of the glass speared on a toothpick. Sound like a spicy, pickled Gimlet? You’re damned-well right it does because that, is a “San Francisco” my friends. Chilled fruit juice be damned.

The “San Francisco” Cocktail

60ml Gin
15ml Lime juice
5g sugar
1 small chili pepper
1 clove pickled garlic

Put the garlic in a Martini glass on a toothpick
Put everything else in a shaker with ice and shake