19 Jul 2011
Michael Reynolds, our SF Store Manager, talks about his recent trip to Tequila, Mexico and explains why Tequila is so cool.
15 Jun 2011
I was introduced to cocktails early in life. The rotating bridge games that my parents either hosted or attended were liberally sprinkled with them, and I was drawn to the card tables by the aromas of the drinks (and the snacks!).
We are talking the spicy, licorice aroma of the Galliano in the Harvey Wallbangers, the sweet, rich malty scent of the rye in rye and gingers and on occasion, the mint in the Grasshoppers that my mother would whip up in the blender for the ladies.
The ultimate in cocktail-related scent memories, however, comes from gin. The intoxicating lure of all those herbs and various aromatics – what was in that stuff? Slightly perfumey and citrussy in a gin and tonic with a squeeze of lime, and magical in a martini mingling with the saltiness of green olives… Lovely, lovely stuff!
You can then imagine my disappointment when my first grown-up martini was half Potter’s Gin and half bargain vermouth. It took me a few years and a few warm-up beverages before I had the nerve to try again. I had just moved to San Francisco and was feeling adventurous so I hit La Rocca’s Corner in North Beach. Any place whose sign stated that it was the home of Rugby was worth a gander. I ordered a martini and the lovely gent behind the bar asked me “A real one?” Well, what in the world did he mean?
The story of the martini soon followed – the version he swore by, though there are many, was about how it was created with Beefeater gin, Martini brand vermouth and garnished with olives. “There is no such thing as a vodka martini, but I have given up trying to convince most folk.”
What followed was a revelation! The aromatics were exactly as I remembered and I was transported back to the sound of cards being shuffled and my small fingers poaching roasted mixed nuts from little silver dishes. I could see the oils that had been clinging to the olives floating on the surface of the martini, and the simple clarity of the beverage was mesmerizing. I had found gin.
These days we have a variety of lovely gins being produced. Some with rose and cucumber extractions, some heavy on the juniper berry and some that are a little lighter. Some make excellent martinis but might not make as satisfying a G&T. Some are the other way around. Many are both. Despite the fact that Beefeater is not a designer gin, it is always in my cupboard. It never lets me down.
-Posted by Shelley Esson, San Francisco