Would Love To Say I Left My Heart in San Francisco Cocktail Week

The 4th annual San Francisco Cocktail Week starts today. Yeah, I wish I was there, but just how many cocktail events can one afford to attend in a year? This event use to be in May and now it’s in September. Would love to attend sometime especially since I lived in SF down on Congress Street once for 6 months in the 1990s.

Look how far my subculture of a world has traveled in a short ten years. We now have World Cocktail Week in May, Tales of the Cocktail in July, San Francisco Cocktail Week in September, and the London Cocktail week in October…plus all the other events in between like the Rum Renaissance in May, Manhattan Cocktail Classic in May,  Cheers in January, Food & Wine Events all over, The Museum of the American Events, and on and on and on. Sure would be nice if someone made a calendar of events so people could keep up. hint. hint.

I looked through some of the San Francisco Cocktail Week events and some sound really fun!
The Ragtag Rabble Soirée
Games of chance like craps, blackjack, roulette and poker, played out by dealers dressed in ye olde Barbary Coast-era attire! Join us in the Burritt Room as it’s littered with bars and ragtag tables, along with Cocktail Lab’s signature innovations of classic, turn-of-the-century cocktails. Highlights of the night include a burlesque show, live music, guest bartender appearances, cocktail-themed raffle prizes and delicious bites by chefs Matt Spinner of Thirsty Bear and Larry Piaskowy of Cowgirl Creamery. Festive attire encouraged.

Hangar One Cocktail Cookout on the Island
The East Bay’s best bartenders are teaming up with Fatted Calf for a meaty, boozy outdoor festival, pairing barbecue with ice-cold cocktails and a cocktail competition under the sun at the renowned Hangar One distillery in Alameda. Ticket includes a round-trip ferryboat ride featuring Hangar One cocktails (designed and served by Master Mixologist Scott Beattie of HMS Cocktails) from San Francisco’s Ferry Building and shuttle transportation to BART to and from the Hangar One Distillery, bbq, and cocktails.

Chartreuse Karaoke Gong Show
At an evening inspired by 15 Romolo’s legendary karaoke nights, bartenders and civilians alike will show off their pipes and brave the gong’s shame before a panel of celebrity judges, emboldened by $6 Chartreuse cocktails.

Strange Bed-Fellows: An Exploration in Ham, Oysters and Malt
Chef Ray England teams up with whisky-men Robin Coupar and Neyah White to present a series of unlikely combos.  Oysters and Islay single malt?  Japanese whisky and cheese?  Sherry-finished malt and ham?  What could go wrong?

I don’t have a photograph of the official cocktail for the San Francisco Cocktail Week, but here’s the recipe.

Papa Ghirardelli
1.5 oz Encanto Pisco
.5 oz Campari
.5 oz Martini & Rossi Rosato Vermouth
.25 oz Benedictine
.5 oz Lemon Juice
Seltzer Water, to fill
Orange Slice, for garnish

Combine Encanto Pisco, Campari, Rosato, Benedictine and lemon juice in an ice-filled shaker and shake for 10 to 15 seconds, or until chilled. Strain over fresh ice into a Collins glass, and top with seltzer. Garnish with a slice of orange.

The cocktail is named after the founder of Ghirardelli Chocolate Company, Domingo Ghirardelli, an Italian-born man who moved to Peru and ran a successful confections business and, following tales of gold mines and potential riches, ultimately ended up in San Francisco. He went on to found Ghirardely & Girard (later changed to the Ghirardelli Chocolate Company), which has been in continuous operation since 1852. In his own way, Ghirardelli helped build and shape San Francisco, and his company has become synonymous with the city. Ghirardelli Square, which his company built, has been an official City landmark since 1965.


I also want to take this opportunity to thank all the wonderful people I was able to see and meet last week in Washington DC while attending Beachbum Berry’s seminar. First, Bruce Tomlinson, thank you so much for everything! I mean everything.  Secondly, thanks to Jesse Dean for airport transportation and and tour of his lovely city. Thirdly, to all the PS 7 rockstars that created an enchanted evening of sips and nibbles. Chef Peter Smith, Gina Chersevani, and Caroline O’Grady. All of my dinner partners, Jeff Beachbum Berry, Bruce Tomlinson, Vern Stoltz, Mark & Amy Eggers, and Brian Spatola all agree that it was the best ever cocktail pairing we have ever been to…EVER! Beachbum Berry even said , “going to the next one would be like the person that has to follow the Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show” and I whole-heartedly agree. It was simply mind-blowing how the cocktails paired perfectly with each nibble from Chef and owner Peter Smith.


From PS 7, me, Bruce, and Beachbum visited Chantal Tseng (wife of Derek Brown) at the Hotel Tabard Inn. She made a wonderful B.O.H. TIKI SMASH with Myers’s Dark Rum, coconut rum, Aaron’s Housemade ginger beer, fresh lime, pineapple, mint, and Angostura bitters. It was also served with a snack. Thank you Chantal! You are beautiful.

Thursday night was Beachbum Berry’s event with The Museum of the American of the Cocktail held at the Occidental Grill & Seafood. Thank you to Philip Greene, treasurer of the Museum, for dinner afterwards. Very nice sitting next to and meeting your father as well! After that, me, Bruce and Bum went over to see Derek Brown at The Columbia Room. We also spent a couple hours at The Columbia Room the following night as well. Thank you Derek for all the fantastic cocktails and personal service! Love your smile. Also loved that you made the tiki god of the world, Beachbum Berry a “real” Mai Tai. Oh nice to meet you Brian Miller (Pegu Club, Death & Company). You’re funny.

Late Friday night, me, Bruce, and Bum, trekked an hour over to see John Hogan’s place in Annapolis called Level. If you are ever in the area then you MUST visit. We tasted the addicting Honey & Cherry Manhattan (had to have 2!) and the cocktail that is on the back label of John Hogan’s and Tobin Ellis’ bitters. Yum! The Honey & Cherry Manhattan was garnished with a cube of dripping honeycomb that melted in your mouth. I gave the Bum my second honeycomb.


Cocktails from Adam at Proof were wonderful and the cherry was topped at the speakeasy, The Gibson. Personally, I could end each night at The Gibson. Such great energy and atmosphere. Dark wood, decorative leather, velvet, cool music, ahhhhh, my kinda sexy place. Don’t even know the bartenders names, but I’ll never forget them, their wonderful drinks, and engaging personalities. They even fixed my broken shoe with superglue!

On a personal note, I’m packing up whatever fits in my car and moving to New Orleans the first week of October. It’s the first city in my whole life where so so many people have opened up their arms and welcomed me. What a great feeling that is! So I’m off to new experiences to the Big Easy. More on that next time.

Live Juicy and Cheers!
Cheryl Charming aka Miss Charming™

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