Cocktails, food, and gardening South of the hill in Bernal Heights, San Francisco.

Q: Who are you?

A: My name is Erik Ellestad and I wrote this blog and took the pictures.

Q: Is your last name really “Flannestad”?

A: No. Funny story. A million years ago, probably before you were born, I registered a domain name for myself and my wife, “muzack.com”.  I thought it was kind of funny, as my wife had been using that sort of nom de plum for her radio show at the time.  Sadly, the MUZAK company did not share my amusement and served me with a cease and desist order.  Casting about for a new domain for our family, I remembered that we sometimes referred to ourselves by a combination of our last names.  FLANN-ESTAD.  Fortunately, no large mega corporations had yet claimed that domain or anything similar. Woo! Score!

Q: Why did this blog used to be named, “The Underhill Lounge”?

A: I was trying to think of a name for a Chocolate Bitters and it popped into my head. Then I carried it on when I started the blogspot blog. As near as I can sort out my convoluted instinct at naming, it is a joke/pun. I live South of a large hill in San Francisco called, “Bernal Hill”, so kind of “Under the Hill.” Also a reference to the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings. Bilbo Baggins’ hobbit hole was in Bag End, Underhill. I’m not a huge fantasy fan these days, but they were important books in my adolescence. Lastly, my father was a Funeral Director, (a.k.a. Undertaker,) so kind of a tribute to him. Oh, and one of my favorite books about drunkenness and its consequences is “Under the Volcano” by Malcolm Lowry.

Q: Are you making these very Savoy cocktails every night?

A: I used to make about 5 Savoy Cocktails a week and post them every other day.

Q: Are you still making Savoy Cocktails?

Nope, the project is over and done. I am leaving the blog up strictly for archival purposes.

If you’re interested in what is going on in my life more recently, check out my postings over on The Underhill Lounge.

Disclosures and Policies

Any substances which were reviewed or written up on this blog were purchased on my own dime, unless otherwise noted.

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27 thoughts on “About

  1. Just found your blog through another bar blog link. I too write my own bartender blog. I bartend here in San Francisco. Just got back to bartending three months ago and am keeping tabs in the form of a blog. Feel free to check out at your leisure. Thanks!

  2. I’ve been lurking around your blog for some time now, and I really love it! A few of my friends and I have been inspired by you to try a few of the cocktails here, as well as experiment on our own. I especially enjoy it when you do a little historical digging to try and determine the historical provenance behind what you make. Great!

  3. Hi,

    I work for a well known spirits company and we would like to send you a sample of a new product that is still in development. Can you forward on a hard mail address where you would be able to receive a package?


  4. Greetings from London,

    Just found your blog and spent a good hour going over the back catalogue of fine drinks. I am new to all this but have been eagerly digesting as much information as possible. I am in the process of building up my equipment and spirit collection (not to mention hunting down some good crystalware) and was wondering if you have any suggestions as to what liquers and aperitifs I should purchase first. I’d really like to be able to explore the classic London and US style cocktails.

    Thanks for you help,


    • Greetings Kejia, and thanks for reading!

      One of the kind of fun things about the tag cloud on the right, is it sort of gives you weights for ingredients. The larger the word, the more the tag has been used on the blog.

      Absinthe, Curacao, French Vermouth, Italian Vermouth are the largest, so most frequently used.

      I would add Apricot Liqueur, Chartreuse, Cherry Liqueur, Cointreau, Maraschino as very important for classic cocktails. Angostura Bitters and Orange Bitters and you are in business, or at least have a very good start.

      Hope this helps!

  5. I read about your blog in Imbibe magazine this month. I think what you are doing is incredibly cool and I understand the desire to explore something the way you do. I am currently training to be a a sommelier and mixology is one of the topics I am focusing on. Your blog is going to be a great source of inspiration and ideas for me.

    Drink on!


    (i posted the same comment on Foodbuzz as I couldn’t be sure if you were active there. there is a growing group of people who are doing a lot of food and wine and pairing and exploration with cocktails. your experiences are a different dimension)

    • Thanks for the comment Jason!

      Interesting to find a Sommelier who is into cocktails! I know a lot who are quite into drinking, but few who are that serious about cocktails. I look forward to checking out your blog!

      I am kind of slack about my foodbuzz participation, I should work on that.

      • It seems cocktails can be paired well with food and some people prefer them to wine. I thought that might be a nice niche to explore. I also make wine, beer and cider at home so I have lots of oppurtunities to explore flavors and textures.


  6. I always start thinking a lot about great cocktails around Christmas, Erik, and your blog has been great. I was especially glad to read your long post on the Ward 8, a favorite of mine since I first had one a year ago. Not many bartenders know it, which is a shame. It really seems to make the most of Rye, I think.

    The better half and I have been busily choosing a list of about seven drinks for our guests to choose from for a big party we’re having next weekend. We’re particularly excited since we’re lucky enough to have a real live honest-to-gosh professional bartender from right here in The Mission to be our mixologist for the night. I’ll have to be sure he studies your deconstruction of the Ward 8, as I plan on having several.

    Cheers, and thanks for the great writing.

  7. Awesome blog. I’ve only recently discovered it and am enjoying reading through your Savoy creations (backwards!). Very entertaining and informative blog.


  8. I am very envious of your project here – wish I had the budget and liver to keep up with you.

    So many of the recipes, however, have failed to win you over. Have you thought about listing the recipes that worked or were at least drinkable? Maybe a ranking of some sort next to the drink name on your Savoy Index page?

    I’m preparing for an auction for my kid’s elementary school, and I’ve been volunteered to be bartender for the evening. I have to design a small (5 or 6 max) cocktail menu of easy to prepare & serve drinks. The theme for the auction is Prohibition, so Craddock would be the place to start!


  9. I found your blog while researching the Savoy Cocktail book–I have a very old edition with the metallic cover.
    I am a fan of anyone who is trying to complete every recipe in a cookbook–since I’m doing the same thing, although with 1970s cuisine.
    Good luck!

    • Wow, Yinzerella, that’s pretty impressive! A year of seventies food, that’s pretty crazy. Congratulations and good luck with your continuing enterprise! I’m almost done with the Savoy Cocktail Book, one more Julep, then Smashes, Cups, and Punch! Hopefully some time this year, though the punch section is somewhat daunting, mostly from a pocketbook perspective. Thanks for commenting and bringing your blog to my attention.

  10. Hello. I have really enjoyed your website,especially your remarks on the recipes in Craddock’s book. But I’ve noticed that your set up to reach it has changed…you no longer have the recipes listed upfront in your blog so that one can randomly hit on a cocktail recipe. What happened? Will you be changing it back to the old format? It is rather inconvient now to find the drink recipes…unless Iam doing something wrong and missing the obvious.
    Thanks again for all you have written.

    • The Index feature is useful, but it was generated using a plugin whose memory usage was causing the whole site to be unresponsive.

      I need to figure out another way to Index the Savoy Cocktail Recipe posts.

  11. A very respectable collection of links. My blog, “The Tasteful Tippler,” focuses on the enjoyment of fine liquors and cuisine. It might make a good addition in exchange for a link.

  12. Hi Erik,

    Looks like I had a similar idea to you, but a few years later. Can across your blog, whilst posting on the Eton Blazer. My ratios of Lemon Juice to Kirsch are different and I like you idea of adding the Kirsch after. I linked to your recipe – hope that’s OK.


  13. Hey Erik, you’ll appreciate this. Guess what I found and snapped up at a used book sale yesterday? Tipple and Snack: Good Things to Eat and Better Things to Drink by Dexter Mason. 1st ed. (1931). He was head cook at The Plaza. And for the icing on the cake – it is Victor Shreckengost’s copy! with some notes on his whiskey preferences on the inside back cover! Have you got it? Would you like a scan of the recipe list, in case there’s anything you need?

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