Bay Area Booze Odds and Ends: Bar 355, St. George Spirits Distillery Tour & Bitters and Bottles
“Where should we go? It’s Christmas night. Are bars open?”
And I replied that most definitely there would be bars open on Christmas night. People have to get away from all that jolly and their families, right? In any case, I found myself looking for a decent bar in Oakland and found myself a little gem at Bar 355.
Cocktails were exceptionally priced at $8. I tried the Bicycle Thief which was a bit more tart than I wanted it but I tend to like stirred cocktails more. I did wonder how this would do without the lime juice.
Bicycle Thief – Rittenhouse rye, Dolin rouge, orchard peach liqueur, lime, bitters
My friend with a sweet tooth was with me. I ordered her something with the Tempus Fugit Creme de Cacao thinking she’d like it. I was wrong. She didn’t just like it, she loved it! The classic Brandy Alexander is excellent to showcase the creme de cacao. It’s not overly sweet and even I had more than a sip or two.
Brandy Alexander– cognac, creme de cacao, cream
355 19th St., Oakland, CA 94612 — (510) 451-3355
One of my favorite distillery tours is at St. George Spirits.
The tours change fairly frequently so we tasted different things than what I tried a year and half ago. I fell in love with the Spiced Pear liqueur. Andie Ferman from St. George suggested it in a hot toddy and it sounded wonderful. The pear would be exceptional with a little bit of honey. Maybe even add some whiskey but which one? Breaking and Entering or the single malt– might have to do both to find out!.
I’m normally not a raspberry fan – give me blackberries or even blueberries but tartness from fresh raspberries have mellowed in the St. George Raspberry liqueur. I can see this going over ice cream.
One of St. George’s classic spirits is the Pear Brandy. I’d still pick the spiced pear liqueur over this for the hot toddy though. The Pear brandy is more suited to being sipped neat.
I randomly found myself in South San Francisco getting pho for lunch but I noticed Bitters and Bottles across the street. I am always up for checking out a liquor store. I like to compare products found in different parts of the country — even if it’s in the same state. Northern California and Southern California distribution does vary somewhat. In any case, I was also attracted to the display of vintage booze in the front window.
Bitters and Bottles just opened so there was still some construction in the back. What selection they had was very nice. I was almost tempted to pick up the local Bummers and Lazarus gin from nearby Rafe Distillerie. I loved looking at all the different bitters they had but it was the small collection of amari and aperitif wines that caught my eye.
I had seen reference to the Kina L’Avion d’Or on the TBD menu and was intrigued. All the Tempus Fugit labels are so great. I’m guessing this would be a good alternative to cocktail recipes calling for Lillet Blanc (Kina).
Bitters and Bottles is currently offering two monthly subscriptions. You can sign up for cocktails or spirits to be delivered month. The cocktails one seems to be a great deal at $95 a month and would include 5 full-sized bottles of spirits and recipes. The spirits one is $75 and would include one or more bottle.
If I lived in the area, I could see myself geeking out at this store often. They also have bar tools. I would love for them to develop a bar/ lab in the corner for people to play with bitters and taste spirits.(650) 741-6430 © The Minty 2014