Friday 13 April 2012

Amaro April: "Sevilla" from Beretta in San Francisco

For the next cocktail, I'm going to head south to San Francisco's Mission District for a first-time contributor. You might not have heard of it if you're more of a cocktail nerd, like me, and less of a food nerd, (and you don't live in San Francisco) but the more reading I did on the SF scene the more a name started to pop up as a 'surprisingly' good, and fairly new cocktail bar: Beretta. Known seemingly first and foremost for their food, being named consistently one of the best Italian restaurants in the city, if not one of the best overall, and getting impressive reviews in The New York Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, Gourmet and Details magazines, and the list goes on. It was even recently named by Food & Wine to be one of the top 50 bars in America. So why 'surprising' when it comes to drinks? I think mostly it's just that the food reputation was so high that people came to eat and then were surprised at how great the cocktails were. Either way, Beretta is being recognized for both, and that's great news.

The barstaff has all the good kinds of experience, coming from other big names like Bourbon & Branch and Slanted Door, the service is consistently reviewed as impeccable, and despite the buzz that's been heard around this place since it opened in 2008, the consensus is again and again that it lives up to the hype. Southern Italian cuisine is really what they do, in particular pizza, so make sure you go for a drink and a snack.

The menu is short and simple, which I always appreciate. Rifling through pages and pages of complicated concoctions, as creative or delicious as they may be, makes me want to ignore the menu altogether. It's supposed to be a good starting point, a few suggestions, and more importantly, a show of what the bar staff enjoy to make right now. That's how I feel anyway. Yes, yes, digression...
The majority of the drinks on the menu are very refreshing, like "Nuestra Paloma," using Tequila, elderflower, Cointreau, grapefruit, and bitters, or the "Lonsdale," using gin, apple, basil, and honey. Others are simple, like their "Anejo Sour," and they have a classic or two as well, including one of my go-to drinks at home, the "Monte Carlo," with American rye, Benedictine, and bitters.

The head of the cocktail program, Ryan Fitzgerald, sticks with this mentality for his Amaro April cocktail, keeping things very simple. We again see Tequila (those SF'ers sure love their agave, but they have copious amounts of good quality stuff, so it makes sense), pairing it with Averna, then using Cointreau and orange bitters to really pull the citrus out. Ryan prefers to use Pueblo Viejo Tequila, and Angostura Orange bitters (which you better grab fast because I hear they're being pulled off the market - in Canada, anyway), which is much more dense and spicy than any other orange bitters I've tried. Using these will really lengthen the taste of any cocktail, opposed to using one like Regan's, which - while excellent - is much drier and dies quicker on the palate. Averna has some subtle citrus character that will play well with the orange in the cocktail, and being quite thick and fairly sweet, will change the texture of the drink and balance everything out.

Without further adieu, here is "Sevilla," named after the bitter variety of orange, from Ryan Fitzgerald at Beretta in San Francisco.


2 oz Pueblo Viejo AƱejo Tequila
0.5 oz Averna Amaro
0.5 oz Cointreau
2 dashes Angostura Orange Bitters

Stir over ice, then strain into a small old fashioned glass over ice. Squeeze an orange twist over top and add it to the drink.

[[ Photography by "Cooking With The Single Guy," and Beretta ]]

[[ See my post on amaro digestivos here ]]
[[ See my post on amaro aperivos here ]]
[[ See a buying guide for amaro here ]]

[[ See "The One Hit Wonder" from L'abattoir in Vancouver here ]]
[[ See "The Penny Farthing" from Pourhouse here ]]
[[ See an introduction to amaro  here ]]
[[ See "The Imperial Eagle" from Bourbon & Branch here ]]
[[ See "Fallow Grave" from the Toronto Temperance Society here ]]
[[ See "The Black Prince" from Phil Ward here ]]
[[ See "Bad Apple" and "Jackson Ward" from Amor y Amargo here ]]
[[ See "The Four Horsemen" from Jay Jones at Shangri-La here ]]
[[ See Colin MacDougall from Blue Water Cafe here ]]
[[ See "Debbie Don't" from Dutch Kills here ]]
[[ See "Welcome to the Dark Side" from Cin Cin here ]]
[[ See "Foolish Games" from Russell Davis here ]]
[[ See "Intro To Aperol" from Audrey Saunders at Pegu Club here ]] 

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