Let's get one thing straight: I am not a fan of Valentine's Day. Single, taken, it doesn't matter. So today strikes me as the perfect time to sample cocktails that make use of truly tasty bitter flavor combinations. Here are 6 great bitter drinks you can sip now in San Francisco.
'lolinda' on Serious Eats
Since it's the season for entertaining, we asked Chris Lane of Lolinda to teach us a few holiday cocktail recipes for whipping up at home. He shared some favorites from the current menu, including the Armagnac-based Carpenter's Hand; the Bergen Street, a twist on a classic citrusy gin cocktail; and The Devil's Backbone, a balanced blend of rye and Scotch. He also showed us how to make Napoleon's Vice, a winter-ready tiki drink, and a dangerously tasty rum-spiked mulled wine.
This recipe for mulled wine is adapted from Jerry Thomas, with the important addition of rum added to each glass.
"We ended up with a perfect compromise between the dryness of the sherry and the richness of the rum," he says. "Toss a little nutmeg on top for garnish and you have winter Tiki. Boom!"
Much as he loves the smoky flavor of peated scotch, Lane acknowledges that an entire cocktail made with it is pretty aggressive. To avoid having that smoke be all you can taste, Lane cuts the flavor with a bit of spicy rye.
Armagnac plus the honey-sweetness of Drambuie and a splash of dry sherry makes for a boozy but balanced drink, "a great pre or post-dinner tipple," per Lane's recommendation.
A favorite on Lolinda's cocktail menu, this winter gin-and-aquavit drink was created by the restaurant's original cocktail menu designer, Lane Ford.