Show 146, November 14, 2015: Master Barman Duggan McDonnell, San Francisco

Duggan McDonnellSan 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.)


Show 60, February 8, 2013: Allan Stark, San Antonio Winery, Los Angeles

LA Cetto WinesDid you know there is a burgeoning wine industry in Mexico? Finally some of these affordable wines are finding their way into the United States. Shouldn’t a fine Mexican restaurant also offer premium Mexican wines?

One of the premier grape growing areas of Mexico is in the Guadalupe Valley (and adjacent valleys) located in Northern Baja California. It has the rural feel of the flat areas of Sonoma County from 40 years ago.

The predecessor wine interests of L.A. Cetto were established in Baja by Italians in the late 1920s. In 1960 L.A. Cetto acquired their first vineyards in the Guadalupe Valley. Today they have some 2,500 acres in the Valley under the stewardship of the 3rd generation of the Baja-based Cetto Family. They are the largest producer of table wines in Mexico.

L.A’s own San Antonio Winery (dating to 1917) is the distributor of L.A. Cetto wines in Southern California. Allan Stark, a 25-year veteran of San Antonio Winery joins us to tell the L.A. Cetto story and discuss some of their premium reserve wines including Nebbiolo, Chardonnay, and a Brut Sparkling wine.

L.A. Cetto wines are on the wine list at Loteria! Grill in Hollywood, Mariasol Cocina, and Camacho’s Cantina at Universal CityWalk.

They are available at the San Antonio Winery retail store as well as at better beverage shops.