By Shyla Batliwalla
Raise your glass for a toast to the best week of the year -- San Francisco Cocktail Week is back.
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It's only proper that our city host one of the nations finest festivities celebrating the art of the cocktail. The spirited week is San Francisco's loud and proud answer to the Manahattan Classic in New York and Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans.
Founded in 2007 by by H. Joseph Ehrmann of Elixir, Jeff Hollinger of Comstock Saloon and Duggan McDonnell of Cantina, Cocktail Week is a celebration of our city's vibrant, trend-setting cocktail culture. "This is the fifth anniversary of Cocktail Week and it's come a long way since its humble beginnings," said Tami von Isakovics, a publicist for the event.
2011 promises to be the biggest year so far, according to von Isakoviccs. "This year there's a lot more media and liquor sponsors on board and the itinerary includes a variety of events. There's everything from fun, vibrant parties to science-y events for whiskey geeks looking to learn every detail possible," she said.
See the full schedule of events here, and take a look at images of the best of cocktail week below (story continues after slideshow):
The "official cocktail" of SF Cocktail Week.
Guests at the cocktail carnival.
Absinthe and its accoutrements are presented before a seminar.
Guests enjoy views of San Francisco during the Hangar One distillery party.
Created by Jessica Maria of the Hotsy Totsy club.
Guests enjoy cocktails at the Epic Happy Hour.
The corpse reviver cocktail.
A bartender pours his "secret punch" at the Cocktail Carnival.
The week starts on Monday, September 19 with the kickoff party at Anchor Brewing and continues through Sunday, September 25. A great way to enjoy the festivities? Attend one of the nearly 15 spirited suppers. Participating restaurants will team up chefs and mixologists and serve a coursed out, cocktail paired meal. If the stuffed schedule is too much for you to handle, check out von Isakovics recommends the following:
On Wednesday, September 21, Big Daddy's Antiques in Potreo Hill will host a shaker and flask event showcasing the art of mixology, with everything from pressure-infused botanical vodkas to liquid nitrogen popsicles. "It's a really unique warehouse antique shop that we've partnered with to showcase the science behind cocktails," said von Isakovics.
Take BART to Tessera Gallery on Thursday, September 22 for the much-anticipated East Bay Showdown, a selection of almost one dozen East Bay bars that have created a special cocktail on their menu for the month of September. "It'll be a lighthearted competition where people can vote for their favorites and a good portion of the money will be donated to specific charities chosen by each bar," said von Isakovics.
That same evening, Yerba Buena Center will host the Best of the West, bringing together libations from every city. "We've invited people from all over the West Coast -- San Diego, Portland, LA, Las Vegas -- to show off their local cocktail culture. Each city has made a signature cocktail," said von Isakovics.
The week's main event, The Barbary Coast Bazaar happens on Friday, September 23 at The Old Mint. "It's a very cool, historic building that they just started renting out this year. It's themed around a 1920s traveling circus, so there will be fire breathers, a contortionist and classic carny games and passed appetizers," said von Isakovics.
In short: If you like cocktails and want to fall even deeper in love with San Francisco, Cocktail Week is something you just shouldn't miss.
Get in the spirit by shaking up one of these two Cocktail Week-inspired concoctions:
The V-Tini: A contemporary and innovative twist on a martini with Rémy Martin V, Cointreau and an unexpected addition of dry white wine (such as Pinot Grigio).
1 1/2 oz. Rémy Martin V
1/2 oz. Cointreau®
3/4 oz. Dry white wine (like Pinot Grigio)
Stir with ice and strain into chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with orange twist.
Botanivore Pegu Club: Courtesy Scott Beattie and Michael Lazar of Oakland's Plum Bar.
1 1/2 oz St. George Botanavore Gin
3/4 oz fresh lime juice
3/4 oz Combier Orange Liqueur
1 dash Angostura Bitters
1 dash Regan's Orange Bitters
Zest of lime
Add all liquid ingredients to an empty mixing glass, add enough ice to fill the mixing glass up to the top with ice, seal the shaker, shake hard for seven seconds, strain into a chilled coupe or martini glass, and garnish with a fresh zest of lime.