Mixologist: A taste of Burgundy in San Francisco

RN74: Named after the highway that runs through the Burgundy region of France, RN74 in the Millennium Tower is one of celebrity chef Michael Mina’s newest restaurants. It has a sleek look that matches the well-dressed, sophisticated Financial District crowd that it attracts. The train-station theme is echoed by a partition of old train lanterns suspended on wires that separate the dining room from the lounge. The specialty cocktail Pimm’s 74 is a take on the original, which was invented in the Hemingway Bar of the Ritz Hotel in Paris. What distinguishes this version, bartender Jose Zepeda said, is that RN74 makes its own Pimm’s base from six vermouths and aperitifs, starting with gin. “Not many people put Pimm’s in the front of the bar, but this carries out the French-style theme,” Zepeda said. 301 Mission St. (at Fremont Street), San Francisco, (415) 543-7474, www.rn74.com

What are your favorite bars? Alembic Bar in the Haight, 15 Romolo in North Beach. They have great atmosphere, and they have lots of spirits I would love to be able to play with. They take cocktails to another level.

What is your favorite drink? Rye whiskey; any cocktail with rye whiskey.

What’s your favorite thing about being a bartender? Just the people, the atmosphere, the hours. I’m definitely not a 9-to-5 person.

What famous people have come in? Joe Montana. He lives upstairs in the Millennium Towers. Carmen Policy, Michael Jordan, Al Gore, Ronnie Lott. We’ve gotten great press and were featured on the cover of the Wine Spectator.

What is the strangest experience you’ve had as a bartender? I was working in Vegas and a guy comes in with his girlfriend and orders a dirty martini. He wanted to make it really dirty so he gave me his girlfriend’s panties to put in the cocktail shaker. I threw away the shaker and glass afterward.

 

Pimm’s 74

  • 2 ounces Pimm’s No. 1
  • 2 ounces ginger beer
  • 4 ounces prosecco

Shake ingredients in cocktail shaker with ice. Strain into brandy snifter. Garnish with seasonal fruit slices such as orange, lime, lemon, mint and cucumber.

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