Monday, May 19, 2008

San Francisco Cocktail Week: Literature, Booze, and History.

After taking a few days off to recover from Tuesday's opening festivities, I thought Saturday's event on booze, history, and the writing about it would be a calm change of pace.

It's a miracle I'm still alive.

I arrived at the Hotel Rex a little bit early and found several folks milling about, snacking on the surprisingly tasty nibbles that were being provided, and was shocked (shocked I tell you!) to also find there was a drink station set up. Duggan McDonnell was behind the bar (desk?) dishing out Cantina's version of the legendary Pisco Punch along with his characteristic bon motts. While the drinking/milling about was going on, I had the pleasure of meeting Natalie Bovis-Nelsen, a.k.a The Liquid Muse, who I didn't get to talk with as much as I would have liked, but she was quite nice to this unknown blogger.

After we had all been sufficiently fortified with drink, the talk began - Among the panelists were living encyclopedia David Wondrich, and local wine, spirit, cocktail and root beer writer, and gad about town Jordan Mackay. I was most interested in the dichotomy between Jordan as a focus on writing about the state of cocktails today, and David as the generator of legions of rabid fan boys/girls through his recently penned historical tour de force "Imbibe" (this, of course, is a pretty unfair characterization of David, as I'm ignoring his must read work in Esquire, but you get the idea). A bit of a throwaway line from David made me want to corner him, and pick his brain dry. All too briefly he touched on how he walks a line between being too "academic", and making his prose entertaining, and accessible to those who are not as insanely geeky as some of us.

Of course, no cocktail centric affair would be complete without a boozy after party, so following the talk everybody headed next door to Sub-level Ocelot at Cantina. In what seems to be a concerted effort to be everywhere these days, David Nepove (or one of his clones?) was manning the plank at the mini bar. Both the Pisco Punch and the Soiree were on the special menu so I had to indulge in one of each. Really, who can have too much Pisco Punch? I also had an excellent Pisco Sour, and anybody who tells you they saw me doing shots of Chartreuse, or being complicit in installing the hangover that Jordan may have had on Sunday is totally not telling the truth.

Best of all I was finally able to meet Erik - We had crossed paths a couple of times previously, but I was unaware that he was him until after he was gone so it was good to finally pin him down. He, Jordan, and I had a fantastic conversation about (of course) blogging as well as things various and sundry (in case you had any doubts, that guy knows his shit). All in all it was a great way to wrap up the evening, and ended too quickly when some out of town friends called me up to see if I wanted to meet them, that's right, for a drink.

It is my sincerest hope that having lived through Saturday, I should be able to safely make it through the closing event at Absinth tonight. These sorts of things tend to activate the social anxiety in me, so if you see a guy standing in the corner, smiling nervously, and drinking cocktails at a fantastic rate come on over and say hi. I'll probably scream like a little girl. It'll be hilarious.

Comments always welcome or feel free to e-mail us at drinkaweek [at] gmail [dot] com.

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