It’s a weird moment in life.
On a normal day—a day for drinking, that is—I’d be putting cucumbers in a blender and making a puree. I’d then transfer that into a paper napkin, strain out the juice, and mix it into a cucumber gimlet made with gin or vodka, some lime juice, simple syrup, and muddled fresh mint. I love green drinks, ask anyone. Someday, I’ll describe to you the best way to make one of my favorites, “The Last Word,” a pre-Prohibition era cocktail that incorporates a green Chartreuse liqueur.
Today, however, is not a normal day. If I went to pick up a paper napkin at home, I’d get dagger eyes from my mom, who is currently waiting it out in quarantine with me. “Use the paper towels, Saul, seriously,” she snapped the other day when she saw me reach for the napkins. “We’re low on napkins!” And don’t even get me started on the cucumbers. Produce not already in the house is not allowed to enter it unless someone drops it off, curbside, into an open car trunk. Then, once we got the cucumbers home, we’d have to spray them down with disinfectant and then rinse them off. And even then, I bet mom would worry we had them— We’d have to set up a quarantine space inside the refrigerator for fresh cucumber.
True, it is a time of seclusion for most of us, including our bartenders, those bubbly, extroverted personalities that keep us smiling with their skilled cocktails and banter. Thanks in no small part to this meme, I wondered recently what they’d make us if forced to use our current stockpiles of goods. After putting out feelers, I present you with six cocktails perfect for quarantine, from craft to campy, and all invented especially for this column by local bartenders. I added their Venmo accounts to tip them— our friends in nightlife especially could use one right now.
“Quarantine on the Beach”
Made by Vanessa Vasquez, bar lead at The Detour (2200A Market St.) . Tip her on Venmo at @lovenessmonsta
- 2 oz. vodka of your preference
- 1/2 package to 1 package of Emergen-C (your preference based on sweetness)
- 2 oz. water
- 1 oz. cranberry
- 1 oz. orange juice
- Mix ingredients together, and then pour over ice. Optional: garnish with an orange peel, and serve.
Vasquez said she kept it simple and stuck to things she thought people might have at home, adding, “Not sure I’d advise people trying to peel a fruit at home without experience.” I say give a potato peeler a whirl, or use a small, sharp knife, and cut out some rind. Check out a GoFundMe for Detour, too.
“28 Days Later”
Made by Tim Hagney, bartender at ABV (3174 16th St.) Tip him on Venmo at @timothy-hagney
- 2 oz. Mosswood Espresso Finished American Whiskey
- .75 oz. aquafaba (canned chickpea liquid)
- 1 oz. lemon juice (fresh preferably)
- .5 oz. gomme syrup
- Vanilla extract
- Combine whiskey, lemon juice, gomme syrup and aquafaba, and shake with ice, then double strain into a glass with new ice. Garnish with one drop of vanilla extract and a lemon peel.
That’s fancy. A friend of Hagney’s chimed in, “It’s all about the DIY. You are making this yourself, so substitute.” I’ll try it with mom’s lemon juice concentrate, imitate vanilla, and canned garbanzo beans— should be delicious. Check out a GoFundMe for ABV.
Provided by Phil Mauro, manager of Rye Bar and Restaurant (688 Geary St.). Tip him on Venmo at @Phil-Mauro
The recipe is actually made in collaboration with Drew Record, West Coast ambassador for Aberfeldy Single Malt Scotch . Notes Record, “Build your spritz with a ratio of 40/40/20-percent split of ingredients.”
- 40 percent tasty boxed wine of choice (Pictured here is Band of Roses Rosé)
- 40 percent chilled water
- 20 percent martini bitter, or your favorite red or orange aperitivo (Pictured here: Riserva Speciale BitterLiqueur
- Working over a sink with a Soda Stream or other carbonator, only fill it two-thirds of the way. Put chilled drinks into your device of choice and carbonate and serve in a tall glass.
“I just used a Soda Stream to force carbonate boxed rosé, so yeah I’m doing okay.” Rye Bar has pick-up and delivery options, check its Instagram for announcements. Said Mauro, “We are giving all proceeds to employees as our ‘fund’ rotating reserve whiskies.”
“Solitude & Tonic”
Gillian Fitzgerald, co-owner of Casements Bar (2351 Mission St.). Tip her on Venmo at @Gillian-Fitzgerald
For the liquor:
Added in the cocktail:
- 1 cup (8 oz.) of water
- Juice and rind of two oranges
- A cup (8 oz.) of fresh pineapple chunks
- 1 tablespoon fresh turmeric or ground
- 2 tablespoons honey
Yields two cups of cocktail.
Creative license: I named this one. Fitzgerald was Hagney’s friend who emphasized DIY. Simply put, she said, “I needed a stiff tonic.” I’d love to try making this one. I don’t know about you, but I’m picturing a fruit salad in a kitchen bowl, drizzled with mezcal and blanc vermouth. No shade to Fitzgerald, though— It looks delicious. Casements is making deliveries. Learn more here.
“Corona Quarantine Sunrise”
Yes, someone made a Corona beer cocktail. Appropriately, it’s Brynna Logan, who bartends over at craft beer spot Liquid Gold SF (1040 Hyde St.). Tip her on Venmo at @Brynna-Logan
- 1.5 oz. Cazadores Reposado
- 2 ounce Corona beer of choice
- 2.5 oz. carrot orange juice (Pictured: Naked orange carrot)
- .5 oz. Luxardo cherry syrup
- ¼ lime wedge juice
- ¼ lemon wedge juice
- Chile salt
- Add salt to the rim of a glass of choice. Combine ingredients over ice, stir, and garnish with two cherries.
“Today is a good day for tequila,” said Logan, adding, “You deserve a drink.” And then added again, “You’re doing a great job.”
Liquid Gold recently began taking to-go orders. They’re updating people through their Facebook page.
“Bae Area Bunker”
- 2 oz. VIDA de San Luis Del Rio
- 6 oz. White Claw of choice (Pictured: White Claw Black Cherry)
- 2 oz. wellness shot of choice (Pictured: suja immunity shot
- Fill a Collins glass with ice and stir in mezcal and white claw. Add wellness shot as a floater, and serve.
Saul Sugarman is a San Francisco-based writer, event producer and apparel designer. Last Call with Saul appears every other Sunday in the Examiner. He is a guest columnist and his opinions are not necessarily that of the Examiner.