SF: Wilson & Wilson Private Detective Agency
After checking out Jasper’s Corner Tap, we headed to the new Wilson bar at Bourbon and Branch. Called Wilson and Wilson Private Detective Agency, the speakeasy within a speakeasy had a slinky private eye feel. With just 20 or so seats, this was definitely a place you had to plan ahead for. They accept reservations in advance.
We had to wait a bit in the Library of Bourbon and Branch. The last time I was here a year ago wasn’t the most pleasant of time. Fighting bums in the Tenderloin wasn’t my idea of fun but hey, we all get tougher and when it comes to stalking bars, I’m up for anything.
The idea of a cocktail tasting menu was very intriguing to me. You order an aperitif, a main and a digestive for around $40. Since we had to wait, they threw in a little shot that I’m going to call the amuse. The Dapper Diner had the Seraph’s Curse, Carina had the Red Scarab and I had the Black Mask. Oh ho, is this an intrepid explorer of Egypt theme? I see a swashbuckling Harrison Ford in my head. Except I think Brendan Fraser is also there being whiny. Maybe I’m mixing themes here but the cocktails were definitely interesting.
Seraph’s Curse – Aperol, dry vermouth, rosemary syrup, grapefruit, lemon, egg white, housemade fennel tincture
Red Scarab – Applejack, Lillet Blanc, lemon juice, brown sugar cinnamon syrup, hibiscus tincture, sparkling wine
Black Mask – Lillet Blanc, grapefruit, lime, ginger beer, Zacapa float, vanilla Angostura
The Dapper Diner had the Crimson Chord at this point. I preferred it over my own Phantom.
Crimson Chord- reposado tequila, strawberry-infused cocchi, lemon, chocolate stout syrup, sea salt, pepper tincture
Phantom – clove-infused cognac, Glenroths Alba reserve Scotch, Cochi Apertivo, lemon, cacao and vanilla syrup, orange bitters
Some other drinks under mains include:
Skull Island Sour-Pampero Anniversario rum, lemon, orange honey syrup, egg white, sarsparilla infused aromatic bitters, butterscotch tincture.
Fu Manchu– gin, graprefruit, lemon, 5-spice syrup, Pu-erh tincture, egg white, angostura bitters, vanilla angostura syrup
Then as if by magic, a third round appeared before us (Carina had long tapped out– but she had wine at dinner and I didn’t drink then). The Pinkerton is on the left and the Hard Boiled is on the right. Luckily I got the Hard Boiled which was what I wanted anyway. But both were good. These were my favorites of the night.
The Pinkerton – Knob Creek bourbon, coffee syrup, cranberry infused Angostura orange bitters, tobacco bourbon tincture
Hard Boiled – Hayman’s Old Tom Gin, Laird’s 100 Proof Apple Brandy, Zucca amaro, Cardamaro amaro, cinnamon infused orange bitters
I really liked the atmosphere and found our bartender Timothy Zohn very personable. He also works at many acclaimed bars around town like Rickhouse, Alembic, 15 Romolo and of course Bourbon and Branch. What I noticed about these drinks were the incredible amount of infusions and tinctures that are house made. Watch this video and get a taste of the Wilson.
The Wilson at Bourbon and Branch
501 Jones St., San Francisco, CA 94102