Downton Abbey & Savoy Hotel

The other day I received an invitation to an event in London celebrating the life and legacy of Harry Craddock and the launch of Jared Brown and Anistatia Miller‘s new book, “The Deans of Drink“.

As a blogger, my usual response it, “Gee, thanks for the invite, but I live in San Francisco and am not independently wealthy.”

Thinking about it a bit more, it seemed like it was something I should at least try to get to, so I contacted a friend, Trevor Easter, who worked for the liquor company sponsoring the event, and he said he would talk to his superiors.

Unfortunately, the company had made the decision that they weren’t sending anyone from the West Coast to the event.

I was bummed.

But, Trevor Easter, being the swell guy that he is, said, well, I can’t give you money, but I have lots of Gin. Maybe we can do an event, and you can make some tips toward the ticket.

Couple hours later, I get a text, a phone call, and an email. “Quick, get back to me, I think we can do something. H is doing a thing for the Downton Abbey premiere at Elixir and an English Gin event would be perfect. You can make some Savoy Cocktails with Plymouth Gin and some money towards your ticket.”

Righto! Tally Ho! Carry Forth Jeeves!

So I’ll be making some Plymouth Gin Cocktails at Elixir on Sunday after 8 PM and hopefully making a little money towards the ticket to London.

Stop by and enjoy a Gin Cocktail or two and help me get there!

SF Chefs Unite

SF Chefs Unite

On May 7th & 8th a line up of top San Francisco chefs will create a meal you can’t get anywhere else. Join us for a cocktail reception, a 6 course Japanese inspired meal with beer, sake, wine and cocktail pairings from some of the best in the business, while perusing the silent auction for local goodies. It’s a night to mix and mingle with some people in your community while helping a great cause.

Leaving aside the worthiness of the cause, if someone asks you if you would like to help out at a benefit featuring chefs which include: Michael Black (Sebo), Danny Bowien (Mission Chinese Food), Jake Godby (Humphry Slocombe), Jordan Grosser (Stag Dining), Robbie Lewis (Bon Appetit), Richie Nakano (Hapa Ramen), and Chat Newton (American Box) you really don’t say no. These are some of the most important names among San Francisco’s Restaurant and chef scene. What I’ve seen of the menu looks off the charts!

I’ll be contributing a punch to be served during the Cocktail Hour and silent auction which precedes the dinner. There will also be beer pairings by Jesse Friedman (of Beer and Nosh and Sodacraft), Wine and Sake pairings from Alex Fox and Alex Finberg, and Cocktails from Scott Baird and Josh Harris of Bon Vivants.

Whenever I’ve made my variations on Jerry Thomas’ California Milk Punch, I’ve always been struck by how similar the ingredients are to the famous San Francisco drink known as “Pisco Punch”.

While most people these days make Pisco Punch a la minute, especially since we have Small Hand Foods Pineapple Gum Syrup at hand, it was originally a real Punch, prepared in a large batch and served out of a bowl.

When they asked me to contribute a Punch for the SF Chefs Unite Benefit, I returned to the quintessential San Francisco Beverage, and decided to return it to its roots.

I called up Encanto Pisco, and they agreed to donate some of their most excellent Pisco for the cause.

Here’s the plan, in a slightly smaller volume recipe:

SanFranPisco Punch

2 Bottles Encanto Pisco
1/2 Bottle Batavia Arrack

1 TBSP Coriander Seed, Crushed
6 Whole Cloves, Crushed
2 Cassia Cinnamon Stick

6 Lemons

16 oz Water
16 oz Sugar
4 tsp Japanese Sencha Green Tea

1 Quart Straus Farms Milk

Zest citrus and add zest to Pisco and Batavia Arrack. Juice Lemons and add to aforementioned liquid. Add Spices. Allow to infuse for 48 hours.

Heat water and add tea. Steep 6 minutes and stir in sugar. Strain tea leaves out of syrup and chill.

Strain Peels and Spices out of Liquid. Juice other two lemons and add to Flavored Booze Mixture. Heat milk to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Add to Flavored Booze Mixture. Allow to stand undisturbed for 30 minutes and filter through cheesecloth, removing milk solids. Add Tea Syrup to filtered booze mixture and pour into clean containers. Allow to stand for a couple days. Rack clear liquid off of any accumulated sediment into clean bottles and store. Chill well before serving. Serve on ice and garnish with freshly grated nutmeg. Makes about a gallon.

I hope to see you there!

Bartender Benefit

Just a reminder that tonight is the benefit for Tony Devencenzi at Enrico‘s.

Details from the press release:

San Francisco Bartenders Unite to Help Tony Devencenzi
Fundraiser at Enrico’s on January 5th Raises the Issue of
Affordable Health Insurance as well as the dedicated bond the bar community has for one another!

San Francisco, CA–December 29, 2008—The United States Bartenders Guild, San Francisco Chapter (SF USBG) and friends and family of Tony Devencenzi have united to put together a benefit to raise funds to defray Tony’s rising medical costs. An affable barman at The Clock Bar, Tony was struck by a car on Sunday December 14, 2008. He is in stable condition and is expected to recover entirely over time; however, his lack of health insurance and loss of work time only equates to escalating bills.

The SF USBG established a Bartender Relief Fund earlier this year to help uninsured bartenders in times of need.

“In the past couple of years we have seen a few of our colleagues suffer traumatic situations with no insurance and loss of work,” stated USBG Vice President H. Joseph Ehrmann. “Sadly, we did not expect to use the funds we have raised so soon after establishing the fund. The need for affordable health insurance is once again brought to light amongst career bartenders.”

The benefit will be on this Monday, January 5, 2009 at Enrico’s Sidewalk Café from 6:30-11:30 p.m. Enrico’s has generously donated the space and food for the event. Donations are welcome at the door, $10 raffle tickets will be sold onsite and a silent auction will begin at 6:30 and end at 10:30 p.m. Key raffle and auction items include magnums of wine, top notch spirits, cocktail book as well as, restaurant gift certificates and a night of Chef Joey Altman cooking at one’s home…and much much more!

Live Music by The Backstreet Burner Blues band with headliner Joey Altman from 8:30-10:00 p.m.

The bars will be staffed by some of the best in the Bay—donating 100% of all tips and proceeds to the fund. Additionally, bars across the city have set up Tips for Tony jars including Levende Lounge and Clock Bar.

All donations can be made out to USBG and mailed to the USBG at 95 Fairmont Dr., Daly City, Ca 94015 or email the USBG at NorCalUSBG(a) with the amount you would like to donate via credit card.

About the USBG:
The U.S.B.G. is an association of bartenders who come together to share their common interest: the craft of mixology.
Our Guild is made up of exceptional bartenders who take great pride in the cocktails we serve. At every opportunity we use only the freshest ingredients and quality spirits to craft a well-balanced, professional product.

For more information, go to Celebration for Tony on Facebook or email darizzo(a)

Help a Bartender in Need

Local bartender Tony Devencenzi was recently struck by a car while walking in San Francisco.

He was hospitalized at San Francisco General Hospital and his condition required emergency surgery.  He is expected to make a full recovery, but unfortunately, at the time, he was without insurance coverage.

The San Francisco chapter of the United States Bartender Guild, through it’s recently organized Bartender Relief Fund, is organizing a benefit on his behalf.

It will be held on January 5th at Enrico’s in the North Beach neighborhood of San Francisco begining at 6:30 PM until 11:30.  There will be live music, raffle, silent auction and drink specials.

All Proceeds will to Tony through the USBG Relief Fund, a 501c3 Charity. Checks can be made out to the USBG and are tax-deductible.

For more info or to make a donation contact Debbie Rizzo.

Debbie Rizzo
Drink PR