Sanbitter & Bitter Lemon

Sanbitter & Bitter Lemon

Recently, I was contacted by a friend about participating in a home bar crawl to several bartenders’ houses.

Rock Star Bartenders’ Home Setups, Grant Marek

**Cough**Yes, the name of the article is **ahem** inaccurate, at least in my case!

I drew the lucky straw and they started at my house at 11 AM. Made Ramos Fizzes and served coffee and pastries.

The second stop was at Josh Harris’ apartment in the Mission.

He served us a drink made with Sanbitter and Fever Tree Bitter Lemon, about 50/50, on cracked ice, which totally hit the spot on that ridiculously, unseasonably, hot November day.

I’ve spent most of the rest of the last few months trying to track down some Sanbitter, I enjoyed that non-alcoholic aperitif so much, but not had much luck.

This month, a month of ‘experimenting with sobriety’, I really wanted to track them down, but BevMo! was out stock on both Fever Tree Bitter Lemon and Sanbitter.

I remembered seeing some bottles at Tower Market, before it became Molly Stone’s, but they didn’t really turn over the inventory with the new management, so I had some hope it would still be there. Score one for slow inventory turn over.

Fever Tree Bitter Lemon is exactly that, a sort of cross between lemon soda and tonic water. One of my favorites of Fever Tree’s flavors.

Sanbitter is sort of a non-alcoholic campari-soda. It’s maybe a bit more cherry-ish, than Campari, but similar in flavor with a nice bitter aftertaste.

Right up my alley.

Combining them is a great idea, Thanks Josh! I’m told, they should have this combo at the new and excellent Trick Dog, if you don’t feel like tracking down your own carton of Sanbitter.*

*Update! Apparently, the Sanbitter product has been discontinued, so the Sanbitter & Bitter Lemon Highball will NOT be on the menu at Trickdog. They still have 3 excellent non-alcoholic drinks, so go anyway!

Savoy Cocktail Night at Alembic

Couple months ago I was out at Alembic with some friends. I was chatting with bar manager Daniel Hyatt about this and that. I wasn’t sure if they were still doing their Savoy Cocktail Book nights, so I asked about it.

He said they hadn’t for a while, but then suggested perhaps that I get involved somehow and we could relaunch them. That it might somehow be good for both the bar and for my interests.

Of course I said, “uh yeah!” I felt like asking him, “What is this, Make a Wish Foundation Night?” I would totally love to be involved.

But being raised in the Midwest, I have been trained to expect the worst. That he wouldn’t call back or was just pulling my leg.

We got together again, talked some more, examined our schedules, and thought perhaps the 14th of December might work.

Well, OK then….

Unless some freak storm destroys all of the Upper Haight in the next couple days, it appears Sunday, December 14th, 2008 will see the triumphant return of the Savoy Cocktail Book night at Alembic Bar.

That day, starting at about 3 PM, should you choose to stop by Alembic, instead of choosing from their normal assortment of wonderful libations, you will instead be able to choose from the length and breadth of the Savoy Cocktail Book.

You want a Bosom Caresser, we’ll make it. You want a Damn-The-Weather, we’ll make it. You want a Hoop La! we’ll make it. Or well, do our best. I’m not sure of the exact fine print.

And, yeah, apparently a certain middle aged cocktail enthusiast will be involved in some manner or another. At the very least, I’m bringing the Orgeat.

Aside from home made Orgeat, we’ll also be featuring several syrups from Jennifer Colliau’s Small Hand Foods and have some other special treats on hand.

So all this week, I’ve been practicing making Savoy Cocktails using a few speed pourer topped bottles filled with water.

But the other night I got to a cocktail I’ve been looking forward to for years and just couldn’t resist.

The Nose-Dive Cocktail

Take one hooker of Gin (Beefeater’s), place in it an olive (Picholine Olive), then deposit the glass carefully in the bottom of an ordinary tumbler. Fill the said tumbler with Water, Ginger Ale, or What Have You (Fever Tree Bitter Lemon), until almost to the top of the small glass, then down the whole thing quickly. That is, everything but the small glass. Note: This Cocktail is very among pilots on American Flying Fields.

In his prohibition era tome, “Here’s How!” Judge Jr. notes this was, “Contributed by “Billy” from Wheeler field, Hawaii. This is the aviator’s favorite—let’s go.”

Not sure where you’re thinking of flying to, but if your tank’s low and you’re near the Upper Haight, San Francisco, CA, USA on Sunday, December 14th, be sure to stop by Alembic. We’ll have just about all you’ll need to refuel and get prepped to weather the holiday turbulence.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the cocktails in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, Zed.