San Francisco is a City devoted to drink and other causes. Our guest, Duggan McDonnell, is the author of Drinking the Devil’s Acre – A Love Letter from San Francisco and her Cocktails.
During the 1870s and ‘80s, the Devil’s Acre was a single, bar-filled block within San Francisco’s infamous Barbary Coast that boasted the wickedest, wildest saloons in America. A few blocks away, marble-floored drinking palaces poured the high art of the cocktail. From this, San Francisco’s electrifying nightlife was born and a few generations later, the city’s farm-to-glass cocktails have never tasted better.
McDonnell (part culinary anthropologist and part whimsical professor) masterfully weaves essays on prominent spirits, insights into San Francisco’s historic love affair with amaro, and recipes for his Bartender’s Secret Formulas together with 25 iconic cocktail recipes made famous by the City by the Bay. The recipes range from the legendary Pisco Punch and the ingenious Mai Tai, to the Gold Rush era Sazerac and the more modern Lemon Drop.
Put on the spot Duggan offers that The Martinez, a Bay Area original, is perhaps the most iconic libation associated with San Francisco. It’s gin based.
A really fun part of the book is Duggan McDonnell’s “Rules For Budding Barmen and Young Mixologists Everywhere.” This is actually the book’s last page.
Chef Andrew asks Duggan to share his five “must visit” bars and taverns in San Francisco. The ultimate pub crawl if you will…McDonnell’s recommendations are Buena Vista (Irish Coffee.) Smuggler’s Cove (rum,) WhiteChapel (gin,) Comstock Saloon (The Martinez,) and Cantina (Duggan McDonnell’s place dedicated to Artisanal Spirits and California Cocktails.)