One of my favorite bars in San Francisco has to be the Hotel Lobby Bar at the St. Regis.  There’s never a shortage of creative cocktails on hand, the bartenders are friendly, often mustachioed, and uber-knowledgeable, plus you can order food from the adjoining restaurant, Ame– arguably some of the city’s best Japanese-American food.  Recently I discovered a new favorite libation as well… the Distinguished Gentleman, by Barman Eric Kopczick.



This beverage is essentially a play on the Negroni, but is made even more excellent with the addition of my favorite Amaro, Amaro Montenegro.  Eric stirred my version with ice and served it neat, with a slender twist of orange peel.  The Damrak Gin is super clean and bolsters the sweetness of the Montenegro without masking its fragrant, somewhat delicate aromatics.

My partner in crime, Don Jost, is a well-respected fixture in the wine scene in San Francisco.  His knowledge of Italian wine is surpassed only by his love for the wines of Alto Adige.  And Amaro Montenegro.  And Nebbiolo.  No wonder we get along so well…  It was thanks to Don I discovered how truly excellent the St. Regis Hotel Lobby Bar really is.  Thanks, Don!

I love exploring the local cocktails in new cities.  They really tell you something about what’s going on with the food and wine is every place you visit.  San Francisco is especially fun because the city’s bar-tending culture is truly revitalized, and encourages this kind of creativity and playfulness.

As usual, my suggestion is to always keep an open mind, try something new, and please, don’t take it too seriously- at the end of the day it’s just a cocktail…