San Francisco

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Cocktail History

The San Francisco is a classic cocktail that was first published in the Café Royal Cocktail Book by William J. Tarling and the United Kingdom Bartenders Guild in 1937. It’s traditionally made with equal-parts sloe gin, dry vermouth, and sweet vermouth, and it’s paired with a few dashes of both aromatic and orange bitters for extra flavor and balance.

Cocktail Ingredients

To make this cocktail, you’ll need the following ingredients:

Sloe Gin: This is a liqueur made with sloes, sugar, and alcohol. We used Plymouth Sloe Gin because it’s the original sloe gin with a rich flavor. For a mocktail version of this drink, try Monin Premium Wild Berry Syrup in place of the sloe gin.

Dry Vermouth: This is a fortified wine made with grapes, sugar, botanicals, herbs, sugar, and alcohol. We used Dolin Dry Vermouth de Chambéry because it has a light and airy flavor profile with notes of Alpine herbs. For a mocktail version of this drink, try Lyre’s Non-Alcoholic Apéritif Dry in place of the dry vermouth.

Sweet Vermouth: This is a fortified wine made with grapes, sugar, botanicals, herbs, sugar, and alcohol. We used Dolin Vermouth de Chambery Rouge because it’s a high quality vermouth with notes of herbs, coriander, hyssop, rhubarb, and citrus. For a mocktail version of this drink, try Lyre’s Non-Alcoholic Apéritif Rosso in place of the sweet vermouth.

Aromatic Bitters: This is a food product made with botanicals, herbs, and alcohol. We used Angostura Aromatic Bitters. For a mocktail version of this drink, try All The Bitter Alcohol-Free Aromatic Bitters in place of the aromatic bitters.

Orange Bitters: This is a food product made with oranges, botanicals, herbs, and alcohol. We used Angostura Orange Bitters. For a mocktail version of this drink, try All The Bitter Non-Alcoholic Orange Bitters in place of the orange bitters.

Cherry: This is a fruit that has been soaked in brandy and rich syrup. We used Luxardo Maraschino Cherries because they’re high quality and delicious.

Bartending Tools

To make this cocktail, you’ll need the following bar tools:

Jigger: This is used to measure and pour ingredients. We used the Japanese jigger from the A Bar Above 14-Piece Silver Bar Set.

Boston Shaker: This is used to shake ingredients. We used the Boston shaker from the A Bar Above 14-Piece Silver Bar Set.

Hawthorne Strainer: This is used to strain out ice and solid ingredients after the cocktail is shaken. We used the A Bar Above Hawthorne Strainer.

Cocktail Pick: This is used to hold the garnish. We used one from the Homestia Stainless Steel Cocktail Pick Set.

Tasting Notes

The San Francisco features the unmistakable aroma and initial taste of sloe gin, is balanced by vermouth notes and bitterness while held in the mouth, and slides down the throat with a pleasant and lingering bitterness.

Our Opinion of This Cocktail Recipe: We both liked this drink better than either of us thought we would because the three flavors strike a great balance. Even those who don’t usually care for the prominent taste of vermouth in cocktails like Kendall, will still really enjoy the San Francisco, and anyone who does like Alex will be all the happier to have found this recipe.

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Which of our palates is yours most like?
Find out if your palate is most similar to Alex’s or Kendall’s by answering five questions.

Take Our Quiz →

Alex’s Take: ⭐⭐⭐
“This is actually better than I thought it would be after first glancing at the recipe; what I figured would be an overly candy-sweet drink turned out to be a decently balanced sip, with appropriate dryness to balance out the sweetness. The sloe gin brought its slight bitterness to the aftertaste, which I found to be very pleasant. I would say that as far as sweeter Martini-style beverages go, this one is great for anybody wanting to venture into less sugary territory.”

Kendall’s Take: ⭐⭐⭐
“The San Francisco has an almost candy-sweet aroma, and the initial taste is that way too until the vermouth and slight bitterness of the spirit come through in the aftertaste. I don’t usually go for sloe gin drinks in general, but I quite liked this one. It’s very unique.”

Recipe

This cocktail recipe was adapted from Winter Warmers: 60 Cosy Cocktails for Autumn & Winter by Jassy Davis.

Sale
Winter Warmers: 60 Cosy Cocktails for Autumn and Winter
Winter Warmers: 60 Cosy Cocktails for Autumn and Winter
Hardcover Book; Davis, Jassy (Author); English (Publication Language); 144 Pages – 09/01/2020 (Publication Date) – HarperCollins (Publisher)
$10.89 Amazon Prime

AuthorWinter Warmers

Yields1 ServingPrep Time5 mins

Ingredients
 1 oz Sloe Gin
 1 oz Dry Vermouth
 1 oz Sweet Vermouth
 1 dash Aromatic Bitters
 1 dash Orange Bitters
 1 Cherry

Method
1

Add sloe gin, dry vermouth, sweet vermouth, aromatic bitters, orange bitters, and cubed ice to a shaker.

2

Shake for 10-20 seconds.

3

Strain into a cocktail glass.

4

Garnish with cherry.

Ingredients

Ingredients
 1 oz Sloe Gin
 1 oz Dry Vermouth
 1 oz Sweet Vermouth
 1 dash Aromatic Bitters
 1 dash Orange Bitters
 1 Cherry

Directions

Method
1

Add sloe gin, dry vermouth, sweet vermouth, aromatic bitters, orange bitters, and cubed ice to a shaker.

2

Shake for 10-20 seconds.

3

Strain into a cocktail glass.

4

Garnish with cherry.

San Francisco

Make It a Mocktail: Use Monin Premium Wild Berry Syrup in place of the sloe gin, Lyre’s Non-Alcoholic Apéritif Dry in place of the dry vermouth, Lyre’s Non-Alcoholic Apéritif Rosso in place of the sweet vermouth, All The Bitter Alcohol-Free Aromatic Bitters in place of the aromatic bitters, and All The Bitter Non-Alcoholic Orange Bitters in place of the orange bitters to try a booze-free version of this drink.

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More Gin Cocktails

If you like this gin-based cocktail recipe, here are a few others we’ve tried that you may enjoy:

Trellis Gin & Tonic Cocktail Recipe

Trellis Gin & Tonic: An ombré gin cocktail made with cucumber and rose pink tonic water, lime juice, and a rolled cucumber

Gin Rickey Cocktail Recipe

Gin Rickey: A classic gin cocktail made with lime juice, club soda, and a lime wheel

Lemon Thyme Gin & Tonic Cocktail Recipe

Lemon Thyme Gin & Tonic: A lemon gin cocktail made with lemon juice, thyme syrup, Indian tonic water, and a lemon wedge

Florodora Cocktail Recipe

Florodora: A gin cocktail made with lime juice, raspberry syrup, simple syrup, ginger ale, a lime slice, and raspberries

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