Making the Rounds…
For various reasons, Heaven’s Dog has become something of a center of gravity for Scott and I during this project – probably because it’s home to five LCL bartenders (plus one alumni from the first edition) And while that pretty much guarantees someone fantastic will be working there any time we drop in, it’s hardly the end of possibilities in San Francisco.
A few days ago I had occasion to point out to Scott that there were still a good number of LCL bartenders in San Francisco whom we hadn’t yet met. Scott asked how many more. Eight, I said, not counting Jimmy Patrick in Sunnyvale, a visit to whom will require careful coordination of schedules lest we find him not in residence. We resolved there and then to address the situation head on by visiting the remaining LCL bars over the coming weeks and making the acquaintance of all the SF bartenders. (I know, such a burden.)
Last night found us at Beretta, hopping as usual on a Saturday night. We had a couple of rounds at the large table but in the final hour before closing finally found ourselves properly seated at the bar before Ryan Fitzgerald. Introductions were made and the conversation immediately kicked into high gear.
Ryan and I talked about making the dried apricot-infused Pisco for one of his LCL contributions, “Il Terzo.” Yes, slicing the apricots into strips really helps increase the flavor (more surface area good). And yes, he too used sulfured apricots (moister, more flavorful). Using them also means concentrating the sulfuring agent – sulfur dioxide (SO2). I told him about airing the infusion out after it was done to rid it of excess SO2 – about an hour with the lid open does the trick.
Then it was on to the “Rocky Mountain Monkberry” – Ryan’s other LCL recipe. We all waxed poetic about the Leopold Brothers fruit liqueurs (the Rocky Mountain Blackberry being the centerpiece of this drink) and got a taste of their gin which we’d heard was in the same league at the Bluecoat. (The jury’s out on that one for now.) Ryan then mixed up the aforementioned Monkberry for us, pointing out how it’s the lime peel garnish which adds just the right bit of citrus aroma as a foil for all that sweetness. We agreed!
Finally, Ryan tested out his Mezcal variant on the Improved Whiskey Cocktail – I think he calls it the Hermitage. And this led us into a discussion on the Del Magey Minero which Ryan feels isn’t being made as well as had been originally – though he still likes the Chichicapa. Sounds like he’s casting his net about looking for a Minero replacement.
The next thing we knew, it was last call: time for the barstaff to eat and for us to head home. Ryan bid us farewell and we thanked him for his time, energy and expertise. We also said our good byes to Vince who’d been manning the other end of the bar. (Ask him to make you his drink, the Marionette, next time you are there.) Other LCL watering holes beckon to us but we’ll be back. Definitely.