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Drink This Now: 6 must-drink cocktails in SF right now

Photo Credit: Virginia Miller

Rich Table’s Grapes of Wrath
Rich Table is one of San Francisco’s great restaurants, and their cocktail show off their culinary sophistication, too. On the current menu, the Grapes of Wrath combines floral, citrus, and vinegar elements by mixing pisco, a house grape gastrique, lemon, and thyme. It’s then garnished with pickled grapes and served tall with soda.

Lolo’s El Cotorro
Lolo has just launched its new Mexican playing card cocktail menu. This artful creation from bartenders David Gallardo and Leon Vasquez features 12 themed drinks based on the game Tablero Loteria. One of the best is El Cotorro, which combines Wahaka mezcal, grapefruit bitters, lemon, and locally distilled Chareau California Aloe Liqueur. The drink’s tart-aloe-smoky notes shine with an unusual textural twist from a layer of gin-soaked chia seeds that float on top, popping pleasurably as you sip.

Nopa’s The Pear
Long a destination for cocktails, Nopa is offering a “Spirited” section within the main cocktail menu that’s packed with four eaux de vie beauties. Our favorite is The Pear, a delicate, clean blend of Jacopo Poli grappa, pear eau de vie, and Dolin Blanc white vermouth that makes for an ideal pre-dinner libation.

Ramen Shop Oakland’s Grass Cutter
Bar manager Chris Lane crafts Japanese-inspired cocktails at this soup-centric spot in Oakland. His Grass Cutter is a concoction of rare St. George Spirits Shochu (distilled locally in Alameda), St. George’s Terroir Gin, lemon, ginger, vanilla, orgeat (almond syrup), pineapple, and matcha green tea. To finish, this bright Tiki-meets-Tokyo mash-up is doused in matcha powder.

Urchin Bistrot’s Monty Suarez
Urchin Bistrot’s Rafael Jimenez Rivera creates graceful sippers that often feature French aperitif liqueurs and Italian amaro, to go with the modern French bistro–inspired fare. One of his recent greats is the Monty Suarez, a Mexican-Italian marriage by way of France, combining Altos Reposado tequila and beautifully bitter Cynar, tied together by French Benedictine and served over one giant ice cube.

Pathos’ Metaxa Sour
Bar Manager Julie Rae Greenburg shows off Greek spirits and highlights local distilleries in her drink menu at this family-run Greek restaurant in Berkeley. Metaxa—an elegant, grape-based brown spirit from Greece that’s distilled with herbs—takes center stage in the Metaxa Sour, a frothy blend of five-star Metaxa, house clove–star anise syrup, lemon, and lime. The drink is topped with a star anise pod resting on egg white foam.

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